On March 13, members of the Florida state House of Representatives voted 101 to 11 to approve legislation (Senate Bill 182) to re-legalize the inhalation of herbal cannabis formulations for medical purposes. The bill was unanimously approved by the state Senate last week, and will now be transmitted to Governor Ron DeSantis.
Seventy-one percent of Floridians voted in 2016 to amend the state’s constitution to allow for the use of medical marijuana. These provisions explicitly protected the rights of patients to access herbal cannabis and placed no restrictions with regard to how they chose to consume it. But after the fact, lawmakers and former Governor Rick Scott, who now represents Florida as a member of the U.S. Senate, quickly moved to ban the practice legislatively. By contrast, newly elected Gov. DeSantis asked the legislature to change the law.
Under this proposal, patients would be permitted to possess up to four ounces of herbal cannabis. Patients under 18 will only be allowed to access herbal medical cannabis if they are terminally ill and receive approval by two doctors.
NORML has long argued against regulations that limit or restrict patients’ access to whole plant herbal cannabis. Many patients seeking rapid relief from symptoms do not benefit from cannabis-infused pills, tinctures, or edibles because they possess delayed onset compared to inhaled cannabis and are far more variable in their effects.