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President Office — Press Release


May 11, 2017

CONTACT: Katie Betta, (850) 487-5229

MEMO: Implementation of Amendment 2 (2016), Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions


     All Senators


     Joe Negron, President


Implementation of Amendment 2 (2016), Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions    


     May 11, 2017



As the Senate evaluates the best path forward on legislative implementation of Amendment 2 (Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions), I wanted to provide you with the context of actions and opportunities to date.


Under the leadership of Senator Bradley, the Senate passed an implementation bill that reflected three guiding principles shared by a strong majority of our membership.  This Senate consensus can be described as follows.


First, the Legislature has a solemn duty to fully and fairly implement Amendment 2, which was passed with the support of over 71 percent of the voters in 2016.


Second, we should ensure medical marijuana is readily accessible to any Floridian who suffers from an enumerated debilitating condition, as determined by a licensed Florida physician.  At the same time, the Senate did not support an unwarranted expansion of treatment centers until patient demand has been established.


Third, in order to foster a free market and affordable medicine, licenses and dispensaries should be structured in a way that promotes competition and quality.


The Senate Bill (SB 406 by Senator Bradley) also included sound provisions such as requiring dispensaries to look and feel like medical offices and providing that medicine certified by a physician would be available without arbitrary and unreasonable delay.


Of course, our colleagues in the House had their version of how an appropriate implementation bill would look.  It was our mutual obligation to work together in good faith to find a principled middle ground on this important issue.  I believe both the House and Senate did their best to accomplish this goal; however, we were unsuccessful in reaching agreement during the 2017 Regular Session.


Consistent with the wishes of most Senators, the final Senate position was to provide for immediate issuance of 10 new licenses, which we believe is fair to the seven incumbent providers (who are already authorized to cultivate, process, and dispense) and reflects the Senate commitment to marketplace competition.  In addition, to move in the direction of the House position, during informal negotiations the Senate offered to raise the dispensary cap to 15, which was five times the original cap of three in an earlier version of the Senate bill.


On the final day of Session, the House responded by setting its dispensary cap at 100 and providing a deadline for issuing new licenses of more than a year from now.  Obviously, the Senate was not in a position to accept this House proposal.  The medical cannabis bill then died in the House without being transmitted to the Senate for further consideration prior to Sine Die.


As I said on Monday evening, I believe we should consider the best way to meet our constitutional obligation to implement Amendment 2.  Please feel free to contact me with your ideas on how to achieve this objective.