TALLAHASSEE – On the final day of session, the Florida Senate sent Gov. Rick Scott a plan to legalize a low-THC version of medical marijuana that could be used by cancer patients and children with degenerative seizures.

Scott has already pledged to sign the measure, SB 1030, which would create a legal system for producing, dispensing and studying the drug in Florida for patients who are permanent residents of the state with cancer or the conditions leading to seizures.

The bill de-criminalizes a version of cannabis nicknamed “Charlotte’s Web," which is high in the  non-euphoric cannabidiol (CBD), and low in the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which gets people high when smoking the plant.

The House had amended the bill to require five dispensing organizations throughout the state, require they hire medical directors, and those staffers take training courses on the drug. It creates a "compassionate care registry" where sick patients are deemed eligible by a physician. But senators Friday objected to a provision that limited the nurseries authorized to produce the plant to only those in continuous business for 30 years.

Republicans and Democrats alike complained that language limited "free enterprise" and was likely inserted to benefit select nurseries. For instance, nurseries that had been shut down even temporarily would be ineligible.


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"After Hurricane Andrew, none of our nurseries will be able to participate," said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, who unsuccessfully tried to change the bill.

But its bill sponsor said changing the proposal on the final day of session could endanger it.

"We're not looking to create a new marijuana agricultural industry in Florida. We're looking to use existing businesses," said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island.

The effort has been pushed this year by Holley and Peyton Moseley, a Gulf Breeze couple who adopted a child RayAnn with severe epilepsy. They started advocating for legalizing Charlotte’s Web after visiting Colorado where the new medicine was developed. They’ve hired lobbyists and a public-relations firm to make the case for giving Florida’s 125,000 epileptic children the legal option of using the drug to treat their excruciating condition.

Other families have testified for hours this year about how the oil extract of the drug administered under the tongue could calm spasms and help their children live longer, if it were legalized.

Sitting in the Senate chamber with her mother’s arm around her, RayAnn Mosley, 11, dressed in bright pink and engrossed in the electronic tablet on her lap, was oblivious to the debate and vote that she was the catalyst for.

“Those who changed hearts were the parents and children who came here and camped out here," said Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville.