Florida one step closer to allowing smokable medical marijuana

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - Florida could soon be dispensing medical marijuana to patients in pre-rolled cigarettes. A House Committee Tuesday approved making smokable pot available.

Governor Ron DeSantis had called for the change and lawmakers are following his lead.

Police were the first to object to smokable marijuana. Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri spoke for sheriffs in January 2017.

“We don’t think there should be smokable marijuana,” he said.

Now the man who authored the ban, State Representative Ray Rodrigues, is changing his tune.

“This PCB would allow the smoking of medical marijuana in the form of a pre-rolled, filtered marijuana cigarette,” said Rodrigues before the House Health and Human Services Committee, which he chairs.

The push was not without opposition. Tampa mother Ellen Snelling came to tell of her daughter's addiction and recovery.

“She started smoking marijuana. She went on to pills. There were long nights when I wondered if I would ever see my beautiful daughter again," Snelling said.

But North Florida veteran John Goodson, who said he was under the influence as he spoke, was one of several who say smoking pot
saved their lives.

“Ever since I started cannabis, I’ve got off three blood pressure medications. I got off my anxiety medicine,” the veteran told the committee.

Allowing smoking passed with just two no votes. One was Jacksonville's Clay Yarborough.

“I have concerns that long-term this will lead to recreational use. It’s more of a foot in the door,” said Yarborough.

And it was very clear that this change wouldn’t be happening but for a new Governor, said Rodrigues.

“Well, clearly, the bill is because the Governor has called on the legislature to bring a piece of legislation that he can support," he said.

Governor Ron Desantis has asked for the smokable legislation by mid-March. An appeals court has said it will wait for the governor before ruling on a lawsuit that declared the no smoking provision unconstitutional.