Proposal eliminates cap on licenses and expands access to Florida patients
Senator Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) today filed Senate Bill 614, Medical Marijuana, to implement Amendment 2 passed by 71% of Florida voters on the 2016 General Election ballot. If adopted, the legislation will repeal Florida’s existing marijuana laws and replace them entirely with a broader set of regulations designed to encourage more participation from medical marijuana providers.
“The overwhelming support of Amendment 2 was a strong mandate that Floridians demand fundamental change to the way we regulate medical marijuana,” stated Senator Brandes. “The laws on the books today promote a state-sanctioned cartel system that limits competition, inhibits access, and results in higher prices for patients. This legislation outright repeals Florida’s defective law.”
“Florida should focus on what is best for patients,” Senator Brandes continued. “The state today artificially limits the number of marijuana providers, promoting regional monopolies and standing in the way of the physician-patient relationship. This legislation removes those barriers, and will provide expanded access to Floridians who could benefit from the use of these products.”
The legislation eliminates existing statutory caps on Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), and establishes 4 new types of function licenses for MMTCs: cultivation, processing, transportation, and retail. The bill does not require MMTCs to be vertically integrated. Under the new regulatory approach, a MMTC is free to possess any function license or a combination of multiple function licenses. Retail licenses are permitted on a population basis of 1 license per 25,000 residents in every county, and local governments may prohibit any retail facility in their jurisdiction. A MMTC with a transportation license may deliver marijuana to qualifying patients, guaranteeing access to those who reside within jurisdictions where retail facilities are banned. Senator Brandes was the first Republican legislator to endorse Amendment 2, and he proposed legislation in 2015 and 2016 to reform Florida’s medical marijuana laws.
For more information on SB 614 please visit http://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2017/0614.