Florida lawmakers fail to strike deal on medical cannabis bill

Florida lawmakers failed to agree on compromise legislation to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program, handing off the job to health regulators – a situation that has MMJ advocates worried.

Their concern comes after Florida health regulators proposed a plan earlier this year to give the state’s seven existing CBD-focused businesses entire control of the full-strength MMJ market.

Such a move would effectively close off the state’s MMJ industry to new growers and dispensary operators hoping to capitalize on a November voter initiative legalizing full-strength medical cannabis for a broad swath of patients.

The legislative session ended at midnight Friday before the lawmakers could reach an agreement on regulations governing cultivators and dispensaries, the Miami Herald reported.

The Florida Department of Health has until July 3 to decide how Amendment 2 – as the MMJ amendment was known – will be regulated and implemented. MMJ advocates worry the DOH will restrict cultivators and dispensaries and, therefore, patient access, thus limiting business opportunities.

Attorney John Morgan, who helped fund the MMJ campaign, is urging lawmakers to return to Tallahassee and convene a special session to get the legislation passed, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

The state Senate passed a bill Thursday capping the number of dispensary sites per grower to five plus an additional location for every 75,000 patients, while the state legislature wanted no caps. The House passed a bill late Friday night that capped the number at 100, but the Senate didn’t take up the matter and the MMJ legislation died.