“Over 70% of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016 and today I signed SB182 ‘Medical Use of Marijuana’ into law,” DeSantis tweeted. “I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld.”
Last week the bill, which redefines the term “medical use” to now include possession, use or administration of marijuana in the form of smoking, passed in the House 101-11, and passed in the Senate 34-4. DeSantis previously said he would sign the legislation if it came across his desk.
Despite Florida voter’s overwhelming approval of medical marijuana in 2016, former Gov. Rick Scot signed a bill banning all smokable forms of the plant.
Support For Pot Legalization Up To 61%
Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried commented on today’s bill, calling it a “landmark victory for patients.”
“Today is a landmark victory for patients across Florida and for our democracy,” Fried says. “It’s a triumph owed to the relentless advocacy of Floridians who refused to be silenced. Our state must not disregard the voice of its people – when the people’s will is nullified by those with authority, liberty cannot survive. Patients should be able to access medicine in the form their doctor determines best for them. Whether it’s smoking medical marijuana or other delivery mechanisms, treatment decisions should be made by physicians, not politicians.”
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Lawmakers passed the measure, SB 8A, in a special session after failing in their regular session that ended in May to implement a constitutional amendment legalizing the drug, which was supported by 71 percent of voters last year.
Under the constitutional amendment, patients with a host of conditions can buy and use medical marijuana. Among the conditions that qualify for the drug: cancer, HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, and epilepsy.
The new law also sets in motion a plan to license 10 new companies as growers by October, bringing the statewide total to 17.
It allows patients to use cannabis pills, oils, edibles and “vape” pens with a doctor’s approval, but bans smoking.
“The constitutional amendment was passed overwhelmingly, and I’m glad the House and Senate were able to come together for a bill that makes sense for our state,” Scott said earlier this month.
Lawsuits are likely to follow. John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who bankrolled the constitutional amendment’s campaign, has promised to sue over the smoking ban, and Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner said he will file a suit because people cannot grow their own plants.
“Great Scott,” Morgan said Friday after hearing that Scott signed the bill. “It’s a no-brainer. Gov. Scott wants to run for U.S. Senate. If he didn’t sign this bill, he couldn’t run for dog catcher.
“It’s not perfect. I’m going to sue for the smoking but I know there are sick people who will see relief starting in July,” he said.
The marijuana law was among 38 bills Scott signed on Friday afternoon.
He also approved a measure HB 441 that will give court clerks added protection in public record cases.
Current law does not specify whether clerks can be sued for handing out information that is supposed to be protected from public disclosure if the lawyers who filed documents with that information did not mark it as confidential. Now, they will have that protection.