Barely a month ago, Gov. DeSantis signed a bill to allow patients to smoke medical marijuana after protracted legal battles which ended when court ruled that banning smokable marijuana was unconstitutional. Now a bill to regulate the strength of the smokable medical marijuana has been passed by a House committee amidst protests by medical cannabis advocates.
On Wednesday (April 3), the Health and Human Services Committee decided that the THC content of the marijuana flower that patients wish to smoke should not exceed 10 percent.
Medical cannabis advocates protested, saying that such a cap didn’t even reflect the strength of the cannabis already on the market. The advocates say that higher THC levels are necessary for triggering the therapeutic effects that patients have been enjoying when they use medical marijuana.
The advocates also say that the cap will make medical cannabis more expensive since patients may need to buy more in order to get the effects that they were getting when using more potent cannabis.
Those against this cap also say that the state has just handed a lifeline to the black market since patients are likely to shun legal weed in favor of more potent marijuana on the black market.
In general, the Republicans on the committee were in favor of the cap while the Democrats didn’t want the limit to be passed.
Ray Rodrigues, the chair of the committee, argued that there was research showing that marijuana with a THC concentration that is higher than 10 percent can cause psychosis in some patients while marijuana with less than 10 percent THC content was therapeutic.
He rejected calls for Florida to first study the effects of higher levels of THC on patients before imposing such a cap. The chairman responded that while medical cannabis was relatively new in Florida, it had been around for decades in other states, and the data there shows that high THC levels can be problematic.
Out of the 33 states and the District of Columbia where medical cannabis is legal, 14 have THC limits on medical marijuana. Rodrigues said that most of those 14 states impose a limit that is much lower than what is being proposed in Florida.
Currently, more than 200,000 people have medical cannabis identification cards in Florida. It is not clear how the THC limit will affect their buying habits, and whether more people will enroll for the program.
Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) hope that more robust debate will be conducted when this proposed bill is tabled before the entire House prior to its passing so that the limit set doesn’t push patients to the black market.
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