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Whodunit? or, How did citrus get into Special Session medical marijuana bill?

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Everyone loves a mystery, so how did a provision to help concerns with underused or shuttered citrus factories get into this year’s medical marijuana legislation? Language in both bills (SB 8-A, HB 5A) would give preferential treatment for up to two growing licenses to applicants who can show “they own one or more facilities that are, or were, used for the canning, concentrating, or otherwise processing of citrus fruit or citrus molasses, and will use or convert the facility or facilities for the…

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Jeff Brandes files amendment to medical marijuana in Senate

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Sen. Jeff Brandes is proposing a sweeping change to his chamber’s medical marijuana implementation bill that would, among other things, remove a limit on the number of licenses for medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs). The St. Petersburg Republican filed the 63-page strike all amendment late Wednesday. His “Putting Florida Patients First Act” also removes a requirement that marijuana growers and sellers be “vertically integrated,” or share ownership. The amendment will be formally offered on the Senate floor Thursday, an assistant said. It would be the first…

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Are vaping and smoking the same? Ray Rodrigues won’t say

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As the medical marijuana implementation bill winds its way through the Special Session, some lawmakers still are grappling with whether smoking medicinal cannabis is the same as ‘vaping’ it. Before the Health and Human Services Committee approved the House bill (HB 5A) on Wednesday night, members asked bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues, the House Republican Leader from Estero. “Are we allowing smoking?” asked Rep. Thad Altman, an Indialantic Republican. Nope, said Rodrigues, just vaping—short for vaporizing. Earlier Wednesday, John Morgan—attorney, entrepreneur and main backer of…

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Rick Scott expands special session call to include medical marijuana

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Medical marijuana has officially been added to the agenda for this week’s special session. Gov. Rick Scott issued a proclamation Tuesday afternoon expanding the three-day special session to include medical marijuana implementing legislation. The announcement came shortly after Scott met with House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, who carried the implementing legislation during the regular session. “Medical marijuana was approved by 71 percent of Florida voters in 2016, and I believe that it is the role of the Florida Legislature to…

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Lawmakers agree to tackle medical marijuana legislation during Special Session

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Lawmakers reached agreement early Wednesday, hours before the start of this week’s Special Session, to include medical marijuana implementation in the call. After FloridaPolitics.com broke this news, the Florida Senate announced that Sen. Rob Bradley, a Fleming Island Republican, would “file legislation to implement Article X, section 29 of the Florida Constitution, which allows the use of marijuana by patients with debilitating medical conditions. The Senate will consider the bill during this week’s Special Session.” The agreement calls for 10 new…

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John Morgan: I’m still suing the Legislature

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Where there’s no smoke, there’s a John Morgan lawsuit. Morgan—attorney, entrepreneur and main backer of Florida’s medical marijuana amendment—Wednesday said he still plans to sue the state despite lawmakers brokering a deal to include implementation of the measure in this week’s Special Session. Mainly, Morgan’s hair’s on fire that Florida doesn’t allow smokeable medicinal cannabis. Morgan first said he planned to sue last month. “Done is better than perfect and this is far from perfect,” he said in a statement to FloridaPolitics.com. “I…

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Jose Javier Rodriguez: We’re being called back to bless backroom deal

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Democrats staked out their contempt for the stated purpose of the Legislature’s Special Session today with state Sen. Jose Javier Rodriquez saying lawmakers are being called in to bless a backroom deal to give the governor a slush fund. Rodriguez, of Miami, and state Rep. Shevrin Jones of West Park decried what they described as a cynical process for Gov. Rick Scott and Republican legislative leaders to get what they want in exchange for $2015 million in education funding that…

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