Senate amendment backdoors 10% THC cap – Florida Politics

An amendment filed Friday morning to a wide ranging health policy bill (SB 230) could limit THC levels in medical cannabis.

Sen. Gayle Harrell, the Stuart Republican who chairs the Health Policy committee, filed language that would cap smokable cannabis at 10% THC.

Most smokable cannabis in Florida is well above this threshold.

Exceptions can be made for terminally ill patients, or for patients whose physicians can make the case that they require more THC. However, the doctor must then stipulate why that’s the case.

The bill, which includes language relating to AIDS/HIV, health care in underserved areas, and the regulation of dental hygienists, has rolled through committees without a no vote.

Senate Rules, the final committee of reference, takes up the bill Monday at noon.

Much discussion of and consternation about this year’s attempt to get a THC cap instituted on Florida’s medical marijuana market has happened already, even without legislation filed.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, who held a press conference with veterans last week against the cap, said that he believed the Senate would “hold the line” against the limitation.

“Florida has turned the corner on medical cannabis,” Brandes said, noting that in the Senate, there is “broad support against the cap.”

Nonetheless, Brandes said to “keep an eye” on legislation, where a THC cap could easily be floated as an amendment as the Legislative Session barrels toward close.

It appears that warning was justified.

The issue, dormant much of the Legislative Session, was sparked anew when House Speaker Jose Oliva suggested a cap for flower and derivatives was a “priority.”

The Speaker argues new super-strains in “Europe” produce “schizophrenic results, especially in young, developing brains.”

Oliva did not detail the strains, but the South Florida cigar magnate’s position was clear. The House would be open to a cap.

Oliva has had dialogue with Senate President Bill Galvano on the matter.

Senate budget chief Rob Bradley, a key architect of the current medical marijuana scheme in Florida, is open to talk.

“I’m open to having any discussion on health policy matters. And let’s hear what the argument is,” Bradley said. “I’ve never really heard the argument, you know. I’ve heard some anecdotal things about why it’s a good idea or a bad idea, but I’ve never heard a long, substantive presentation at a hearing on the matter.”

Whether that discussion should happen in the next to the last week of Session, as an amendment on an unrelated bill, is an open question.

But it’s the one the Senate will mull in one of its last committee meetings of 2020.

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