With time running out, Florida Legislature remains split

Posted June 10, 2017

The house's bill to regulate medical marijuana allows edibles and vaping.

But a spokeswoman said later that records that could prove Negron was mentioned in earlier drafts of those documents might not exist, or that Negron's office might not have a copy if they did.

The Senate on Wednesday chose to take up the issue during the special session.

"Our bill is the way to do it", he told reporters Thursday.

The rest of the Florida Legislature's special session may be blowing up, but when the smoke clears, the only real achievement might be - of all things - a bill on regulating medical marijuana. Nobody here wants to be sued because you know what?

"I don't believe that this bill implements the will of the constitutional amendment that the people of Florida voted for", said Sen.

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Several Democrats objected that the increase was not high enough to properly fund public schools, but the bill's sponsor, Rep. Manny Diaz, R-Hialeah, called it the "highest per student funding in the history of Florida".

An impasse would leave it to state health officials to craft rules for how to implement the constitutional amendment, which also would have been the case if the issue had not been added to the special session call.

Bradley's original bill provided money for a coalition for medical marijuana research through Tampa's H. Lee Moffitt Center and Research Institute, one of the top medical research centers in the state. But Scott called the special session after working out the framework of a deal.

Renner defended the House proposal that would let the governor allocate money from the new trust fund for broad regional public safety or infrastructure projects, such as roads, airport runways and utilities.

"We drove down to the two-yard line, and we weren't able to punch it into a touchdown", Bradley told The News Service of Florida.

Edwards said proponents are using social media -- including a #nosmokeisajoke Twitter campaign -- to pressure lawmakers to approve smoking, but the question of what the amendment actually requires remains unanswered.

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Where exactly the legislation went sideways boiled down to regulatory caps that would have been placed on medical marijuana treatment centers.

Marijuana operators also could purchase dispensary "slots" from other vendors, meaning they could potentially exceed the 25-storefront cap.

The Senate okayed the bill, negotiated between leaders of both chambers after they failed to reach agreement during their regular session, by a vote of 28-8 Friday afternoon.

Counties and cities would be allowed to ban dispensaries, and none could be located within 500 feet of a school. The bill allows patients to possess a 70-day supply of marijuana, which can be used in any manner other than smoking it. The smoking ban is likely to be challenged in the courts.

Trujillo said the 2017-18 budget passed last month by the Legislature put "hundreds of millions" of dollars into higher-education initiatives, including construction projects.

House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, and Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, agreed to the Senate's demand to restore $60 million of the $114 million cut from higher education projects, add $215 million to K-12 education and pass the House's version of an economic development bill that restores $75 million to Visit Florida and creates a new economic development grant fund of $85 million.

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