Florida for Care Cautious to Support HB683
Florida for Care Cautious to Support HB 683 ; Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Representative Greg Steube
(Tallahassee, FL) While Florida for Care applauds the filing of House Bill 683 by Rep. Greg Steube (R-D373), there are serious reservations regarding its provisions, which are far more restrictive than its Senate companion bill SB528. “We are encouraged to see this companion bill filed by Rep. Steube. However, the exclusion of qualifying symptoms - in addition to qualifying diseases - and the prohibition on a patient’s ability to consume their medicine as recommended by a doctor is alarming.", said Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care.
Like SB 528, the bill is considerably more comprehensive than previously passed Senate Bill 1030, which only allowed for a low-THC, high-CBD strain of marijuana that would primarily help those suffering with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. However, unlike SB 528, this bill bans smoking and severely restricts what conditions would be eligible under the law.
“It is impossible to create a completely comprehensive fixed list of qualifying diseases for the use of medical marijuana – some diseases will arbitrarily be left behind – it is absolutely crucial that doctors have the freedom to make these recommendations based on specific symptoms, in addition to named diseases,” said Pollara. He continued, “and our position remains that legislation should not stand between a doctor and patient in mandating the manner in which that patient consumes their medicine.”
Dan Rogers, Director of Legislative affairs, stated, "We have a powerful member of the majority filing this piece of legislation. That's huge and we are very excited to see a medical marijuana law in Florida, but we hope the bill will meet the needs of all sick and suffering Floridians, not just those with diseases listed in Rep. Steube’s bill. It has always been our position that medical decision are best left to doctors, not politicians."
Mr. Pollara also looks forward to working with both chambers, "At this point HB 683 just does not meet the needs of all Florida patients, but nonetheless is a strong starting point from the House. We look forward to working with Rep. Steube, Sen. Brandes and the legislature to pass a medical marijuana law that works for all the sick and suffering patients of Florida."