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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." 

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President of Epilepsy Foundation of Florida supports SB 528

Imagine a seizure striking without warning while attending your son’s or daughter’s soccer game.

This is the fear that more than 375,000 Floridians and their families face every day involving epilepsy.

The mission of the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida is to eliminate as much uncertainty for our members as possible. Epilepsy doesn’t always have a cure; as a result, those impacted by the disease are desperate for any treatments that reduce symptoms.

We applaud Sen. Jeff Brandes for his recent proposal to expand access to medical marijuana to those most deserving.

His bill, SB 528, would allow for a patient with a specified medical condition, including epilepsy, to use medical-grade marijuana as ordered by his or her physician once other medical treatment has been exhausted.

Last year, lawmakers, led by state Rep. Matt Gaetz and Rep. Katie Edwards, championed and ultimately passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, also known as Charlotte’s Web, which made legal a strain of non-euphoric marijuana for Florida residents who suffer from epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

However, the rules that the Department of Health drafted in order to implement the law were challenged in the court’s system and ultimately thrown out, leaving families desperate for a new treatment option without an alternative.

Today, 12 percent of Americans with epilepsy live in Florida. And indicators are that this number may increase — not only because baby boomers will age but also because Florida is home to the second largest veterans population in the nation.

It’s estimated that 20 percent of the troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan experienced traumatic brain injury, the leading cause of epilepsy.

It’s in our state’s interest to address this condition.

We humbly ask the Legislature to continue its good work in expanding treatment options to ensure that epilepsy victims have access to new medications with medical supervision, allowing them to live better and more productive everyday lives.

Karen Basha Egozi, Miami, president,
Epilepsy Foundation of Florida

 

Read article here: http://jacksonville.com/opinion/letters-readers/2015-01-30/story/lead-letter-floridas-epilepsy-sufferers-need-medical

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PRESS RELEASE: Joint Statement from Florida for Care and Medical Marijuana Business Association of FL

Joint statement from Ben Pollara, Jeff Sharkey and Taylor Patrick Biehl Regarding the Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes

(Miami, FL)  The heads of the two largest medical marijuana advocacy groups in Tallahassee issued the following combined statement regarding medical marijuana legislation filed today by Sen. Jeff Brandes:

"While our respective organizations have different memberships and missions, we share a common purpose: advocating for sick and suffering Floridians to gain access and ultimately relief in the form of medical marijuana. We applaud the courage of Sen. Brandes introducing this important legislation (SB 528) and look forward to fighting side by side with him to bring comprehensive and compassionate medical marijuana policy to Florida."

Mr. Pollara is the executive director of Florida for Care and Mr. Sharkey and Mr. Biehl are the co-founders of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida. Together, these two organizations represent the largest number of patients, businesses and volunteers advocating for a comprehensive medical marijuana policy in Florida.

Florida for Care will spearhead legislation in March of 2015 in Tallahassee, setting the standard for what the state’s medical marijuana system should look like and how it can function most effectively. Such a system must balance three core principles: first, safe, affordable patient access; second, a tightly controlled state regulatory structure; and third, a robust, free market commercial enterprise. 

For press inquiries for Ben Pollara, please contact Bianca Garza, Bianca@floridaforcare.org

For press inquiries for Jeff Sharkey or Taylor Biehl, please contact Taylor Biehl, (850) 224-1660 or taylor@mmbafl.com.

 

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PRESS: Florida for Care Applauds Senate Bill 528; Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes

Florida for Care Applauds Senate Bill 528; Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation Filed by Sen. Jeff Brandes

 (Tallahassee, FL) Today Florida for Care applauded the filing of Senate Bill 528, a piece of comprehensive medical marijuana legislation drafted and filed by Senator Jeff Brandes, the Republican representing District 22. “We are very excited to see Sen. Brandes file this important piece of legislation. Sen. Brandes has taken a courageous step in service of making the voice of Floridians heard on this issue”, said Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care.

One such voice is that of Sheriff Jim Manfre (Flagler County) whose mother suffered from cancer, "I'm very encouraged by Sen. Brandes' bill. As a sheriff and as the son of a cancer survivor, responsible, comprehensive, medical marijuana legislation is critically important to me. I hope my fellow sheriffs will see this bill in the same light and work towards consensus on this issue which is deeply personal to many Floridians, as it is to me." 

The bill is considerably more comprehensive than previously passed Senate Bill 1030, which allowed only for a low-THC, high-CBD strain of marijuana that would primarily help those suffering with epilepsy and other seizure disorders. “While SB 1030 was monumental in that our legislature-for the first time- recognized marijuana as medicine, it simply did not help all sick and suffering Floridians in the way that Sen. Brandes’ bill would, if passed,” stated Dan Rogers, Director of Legislative Affairs for Florida for Care.

The bill has been identified by many as an alternative to a constitutional amendment in 2016. Pollara stated, “The message we heard again and again was that medical marijuana should become law through legislation rather than constitutional amendment, Sen. Brandes’ bill appears to be a significant step towards accomplishing that goal.”

Florida for Care will spearhead legislation in March of 2015 in Tallahassee, setting the standard for what the state’s medical marijuana system should look like and how it can function most effectively. Such a system must balance three core principles: first, safe, affordable patient access; second, a tightly controlled state regulatory structure; and third, a robust, free market commercial enterprise.

For more information or to schedule an interview with Ben Pollara or Dan Rogers, please contact Bianca Garza via email at Bianca@floridaforcare.org

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Florida for Care Plans Next Event

FLORIDA FOR CARE PLANS NEXT EVENT


(Miami ,FL) - Florida for Care, the medical marijuana lobbying group, has announced the date of its first policy and regulation event for 2015. The event will be held at The Westin Colonnade Coral Gables with a cocktail, networking reception on the evening of Thursday, February 26th followed by a day of presentations on the 27th.

They will be discussing upcoming medical marijuana bills as well as progress on the petition that United for Care is planning.

“We anticipate an information packed day with speakers ranging from the medical marijuana industry leaders to Florida’s legislators. A full agenda will be released soon”, stated Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care.

For information on memberships, sponsorships or tickets contact Eric Stevens at Eric@Floridaforcare.org or 305-547-9831

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PRESS: Former Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp to Advocate for Florida Medical Marijuana Legislation

(Tallahassee, FL)  Former Lt. Governor Jeff Kottkamp is now advocating on behalf of Florida for Care, the organization pushing for comprehensive medical marijuana legislation.  

A separate effort from the new ballot petition introduced last week, Florida for Care's work is purely centered on legislature, and working with both parties to secure access for patients with debilitating medical conditions. 

"Former Lt. Governor Kottkamp's vast understanding of legislative politics and his experience leading the Governor's Office of Drug Control will, without question, be a huge boost to our efforts," said Daniel Rogers, Florida for Care's Director of Legislative Affairs.

"I'm proud to work with Florida for Care on this very important mission.  We have a unique opportunity to bring something compassionate to the table - and respond to the majority of Floridians - 58% who supported medical marijuana in the last election," said Jeff Kottkamp.

Kottkamp's efforts on behalf of Florida for Care are also personal to him:  

"Like so many other Floridians who back medical marijuana, I have my own story. I watched my mother suffer with cancer for 10 years. I think when we have loved ones and think there is any way to alleviate their suffering, how can we not do whatever it takes?" Kottkamp said.

Over 3.3 million people - 58% of voters supported medical marijuana in the 2014 election, garnering roughly 500,000 more voted than Gov. Rick Scott and more than 900,000 than the opposition. voted in favor of medical marijuana in 2014.

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Florida for Care attends Department of Health’s public hearing on rewriting of SB 1030

Today the Florida Department of Health conducted a public hearing in Orange County on rulemaking for Senate Bill 1030. SB 1030, also known as the Charlotte Web Law, was passed in 2014 by the Florida Legislature and was signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. This bill will allow for a high CBD, low THC form of cannabis known to help people with epilepsy and sever seizure disorders.

The DOH's plan today was to rewrite the rules on how the cannabis oil medicine will be produced and distributed.  Florida for Care’s Legislative and Policy Director, Dan Rogers, was present during the hearing.

“While the Department of Health is making progress, this bill is just not comprehensive enough for the vast majority of truly sick and suffering Floridians,” said Mr. Rogers. He continued, “Florida for Care intends to advocate for the passage of a comprehensive bill in the 2015 legislative session that will allow all suffering Floridians who could see relief through the medicinal use of marijuana to realize that relief.”

Florida for Care will be working with members of the legislature to introduce a medical marijuana bill following the broad majority support the issue received in the November 2014 elections.

“A half million more Floridians voted for medical marijuana than voted to reelect our Governor. We need to make sure the will of people is heard and acted upon,” stated Ben Pollara, Executive Director of Florida for Care.

Florida for Care will spearhead legislation in March of 2015 in Tallahassee, setting the standard for what the state’s medical cannabis system should look like and how it can function most effectively. Such a system must balance three core principles: first, safe, affordable patient access; second, a tightly controlled state regulatory structure; and third, a robust, free market commercial enterprise.

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PRESS RELEASE: FLORIDA FOR CARE RELEASES PRINCIPLES TO IMPLEMENT AMENDMENT 2

Guided by host of experts, including law enforcement, Florida for Care releases Medical Marijuana Safety and Regulation Principles in Advance of the Draft Publishing.

This November, Floridians will decide an issue of critical importance to Floridians suffering from chronic, debilitating, and often excruciatingly painful conditions: whether to allow medical marijuana.

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Ray Strack: Not all officers oppose medical marijuana

Tallahassee Democrat: The Florida Sheriffs Association is putting its credibility at risk in a misguided campaign to stop patients from getting safe, legal medicinal marijuana when their doctors recommend it. On behalf of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), an organization of law-enforcement officials who once enforced these laws — and as a former Customs special agent — I want you yo know that many of us in law enforcement support providing compassionate care for people suffering with disease.

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CNN: Medical marijuana laws may reduce painkiller overdoses

By Saundra Young, CNN -- States that have legalized marijuana for managing chronic pain have significantly fewer deaths from prescription painkiller overdoses each year, according to a new study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Researchers looked at medical marijuana laws and death certificate data in all 50 states between 1999 and 2010. During that time, just 13 states had medical marijuana laws in place.

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About Us.

Florida for Care was founded in 2014 to advocate for the implementation of a strong, well-regulated, Florida medical marijuana system under Amendment 2.

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  • Address:
         Attn: Eric S/Su Van/Chris R.
         Florida for Care
         PO BOX 416169
         525 71st St
         Miami Beach, FL 33141
  • Phone: (850) 364-4868
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