Eric Giunta
Marijuana legalization bills going up in smoke in Florida . . . this year
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By Eric Giunta
March 30, 2013


Advocates for medical marijuana legalization are seeing their legislative ambitions go up in smoke, as the fourth week of Florida's 2013 session drew to a close and, with it, most reasonable hopes of their bill receiving a hearing in the House.

Sources tell Sunshine State News that the order to table the legislation came directly from House Speaker Will Weatherford, who fears that controversy generated by the measure would hurt Republicans' electoral prospects.

HB 1139, the "Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act," would have allowed patients with certain specified medical conditions to possess and ingest medicinal cannabis under a doctor's supervision. The measure was sponsored by freshmen Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, and Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth.

Most years the failure of a Democrat-drafted drug legalization bill to move through the state's Republican-dominated Legislature would be uneventful: the pope is still Catholic, and water is still wet. But 2013 was different, or so activists hoped. Last November, Colorado and Washington became the first two states in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use, while Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize it for medicinal purposes. A new bipartisan spirit seemed to be prevailing in the Legislature, and polls consistently show that overwhelming majorities of Floridians favor the legalization of medical cannabis.

Jodi James, executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network (FLCAN), had even gotten wind from a legislator that a workshop on the matter would be held on Wednesday, March 27.

"We pulled together the A-team of witnesses to speak: a retired chief of police, testimony by doctors, military veteran to introduce a VA directive, all the big guns," James explains to SSN.

But on Tuesday, James received word that the workshop would not be held, despite assurances she had received from Health Quality Subcommittee Chairman Ken Roberson, R-Punta Gorda, that he expected HB 1139 to receive a hearing before his panel, if not an up-or-down vote. . . .

Catch the rest of the story from Sunshine State News!

© Eric Giunta

 

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