TALLAHASSEE — The Senate Regulated Industries Committee on Tuesday is expected to take up a plan that would try to move forward with the state’s new medical-marijuana industry.
The agenda for the committee meeting indicates it will take up a cannabis bill (SPB 7066), though the detailed proposal had not been posted online as of Saturday. Chairman Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told The News Service of Florida on Thursday he expects the measure would set up a structure for nurseries to grow, process and distribute non-euphoric cannabis.
The Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott approved a law last year that allows types of marijuana that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD. Doctors will be able to order the low-THC pot for patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or have cancer.
But the Department of Health has been delayed in carrying out the law because of legal challenges to its regulatory proposals, frustrating lawmakers.
Bradley on Thursday said he expects the committee meeting to include “a serious discussion and possible consideration of legislation that puts an end to the delays and makes sure that we get this substance in the hands of suffering families as quickly as possible.”
Meanwhile, Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth McArthur has scheduled an April 14 hearing in a legal challenge to a proposed regulatory framework for Florida’s new medical-marijuana industry, according to a document posted on the state Division of Administrative Hearings website.
The case challenges a proposed Department of Health rule for carrying out a 2014 law that would make available a limited type of medical marijuana. A Jacksonville attorney filed the challenge on behalf of 4-year-old Dahlia Barnhart, who has an inoperable brain tumor.
The challenge alleges the department did not follow the law in drawing up the rule. In part, it takes issue with the way the department proposes selecting five “dispensing organizations,” which would grow, process and dispense the cannabis.
In November, another administrative law judge rejected the department’s first attempt at a rule to carry out the law.