Tuesday, 25 July, 2017

With time running out, Florida Legislature remains split on some issues

Florida lawmakers once again tackle medical marijuana legislation Medical marijuana added to special session, which heads off script
Mike Hodges | 10 June, 2017, 09:18

ABOVE VIDEO: Orlando attorney John Morgan calls for a Special Session on medical marijuana.

"Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any correctional institution or detention facility or place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place", the amendment, approved by more than 71 percent of voters in November, reads.

House members had no debate on the bill, instead green-lighting it without hesitation by a vote of 103-9.

A budget approved last month by lawmakers and signed by Scott included cutting $521 million in Medicaid payments to hospitals.

Negron's rant to reporters was an act of defiance against an increasingly hostile House.

That led to a last-minute agreement where legislators agreed to spend $60 million on 17 university projects - some of them for large schools such as University of Florida and Florida State University - that had also been vetoed last week by Scott. Both chambers are planning final votes Friday.

Update at 4:30 p.m.: The Senate approved the economic incentives bill on a vote of 34-1 after the House sent it back with language providing $50 million in state money to fix the Herbert Hoover Dike, around Lake Okeechobee.

One project reinserted into the budget was $1.7 million for the UCF downtown campus, a small reduction from the $2 million funding that Scott vetoed.

Florida's self-defense law was initially passed in 2005, and inspired similar laws in other states.

Rep. Janet Cruz, D-Tampa, complained bitterly about having to vote for funding for both Visit Florida and the new grant program. But House lawmakers say the Senate is on its own. Doesn't it sound good? It's a slush fund. He said the state money would allow the work to get started.

He vetoed the medical-marijuana research projects at the Moffitt Center and the University of Florida because he said the schools could fund the projects out of sizable increases that they are receiving in the new budget.

Legislators are expected to pass a bill dealing with medical marijuana.

"There would have to be a second special session called", Broxson said. "Seriously needed", Sen. Bill Montford said. "Now we have a framework to deliver implementation of Amendment Two". Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, sponsor of the Senate bill. "It's not what we do", Corcoran flatly told reporters Thursday, putting put the House and Senate on a collision course.

Counties and cities would be allowed to ban dispensaries, and none could be located within 500 feet of a school. "They're doing everything they can to speed up the process and cut out the activists and advocates who represent the patients, caregivers and doctors", marijuana activist Gary Stein said. A smoking ban had been a key point of debate during the regular session.

Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, who was said to be hesitant over medical marijuana, said Bradley's bill demonstrated legislators' commitment to the will of Florida voters.

Epilepsy, chronic muscle spasms, cancer and terminal conditions were allowed under bills passed in 2014 and 2016.

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