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The Florida Senate appears ready to move on a “glitch” bill for the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014. The chamber is also preparing to consider increasing the allowable level of THC in medicinal marijuana.

State Sen. Rob Bradley filed a strike all amendment Monday to increase THC limits to 15 percent, up from the current allowable 0.8 percent.

Bradley, who sponsored last year’s Act, says his top priority for this year’s session is breaking the legal logjam preventing its implementation.

The Orange Park Republican’s strike-all amendment seeks to address many of the issues believed to have been driving a series of challenges preventing the Department of Health from licensing nurseries to grow marijuana and dispense cannabis oil as medicine.

Monday’s amendment is to SPB 7066, which is currently in the Senate’s special order calendar on second reading.

The strike-all would allow products other than cannabis oil, increase the number of licenses from 5 to 15, permit numerous retail facilities and lower a performance bond from $5 million to $1 million.

Municipalities would, by ordinance, develop permitting requirements for all cultivations, processing and retail facilities.

Application for the licenses would begin seven days after Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill into law.  A committee, including representatives from the Office of Compassionate Use, the Florida Medical Association and the Drug Policy Institute of the University of Florida, would score the applications. Two licenses would be awarded to each of the state’s five water management districts. The state would then award a license to each of the next five highest scored applicants.

Unsuccessful applicants could appeal the committee’s decision to the Surgeon General, then in circuit court.

There would be a $50,000 application fee and then a $125,000 licensing fee.

SPB 7066 expands the use of medicinal marijuana to treat the human immunodeficiency virus, epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, autism, multiple sclerosis, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, paraplegia, quadriplegia or terminal illness and to alleviate symptoms caused by a treatment for such disease.

Patient advocates and growers had been working Bradley all session to increase the THC level in order to treat more patients and increase the likelihood of creating a sustainable medicinal marijuana market.

Bradley had said they made “compelling arguments.”

We’ll know by the end of the week whether the Senate and House will find those arguments compelling enough to send the measure to the governor.

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