THC cap for kids: a House priority, a Senate question mark

medical marijuana
THC cap a 'priority' of House Speaker.

A THC cap on medical marijuana for minors was a non-starter Monday in the Senate, but it’s back in the House.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues filed an amendment (434551) to HB 713 that would resuscitate a 10% cap for patients under 21.

The bill, which addresses the Children’s Medical Services Program and Florida Consortium of National Cancer Institute Centers Program, is up Thursday on the House Special Order calendar.

HB 713 is unrelated to medical marijuana, but Speaker Jose Oliva defended the process and the policy in a media availability Wednesday.

“I think in the last week and a half, what is irregular kind of becomes regular as people try and get things done,” Oliva said.

“What it means is we really want to see THC caps,” Oliva added, “particularly for minors, some limitation on the types of chemicals that could possibly be detrimental to a young brain.”

The amendment bars a “qualified patient under 21 years of age” from “marijuana that contains tetrahydrocannabiphorol or has a tetrahydrocannabinol potency, by weight or volume, of greater than 10% in the final product.”

“However, a physician may certify such qualified patient for marijuana with any potency of tetrahydrocannabinol which contains tetrahydrocannabiphorol, if the qualified patient is diagnosed with a terminal condition and the qualified physician indicates such on the physician certification,” the amendment continues.

Some will sense deja vu, after Senate Rules likewise pondered one of the most controversial issues of 2020, a THC cap on cannabis, as an amendment on a previously unrelated bill.

However, it was a heavy lift on its first try and was temporarily postponed in the Rules Committee.

Sen. Gayle Harrell, the Stuart Republican who chairs the Health Policy committee, filed language to SB 230 that would cap cannabis at 10% THC for patients under 21.

That would have included both smokable cannabis and derivatives like vapes and tinctures for anyone under the age of 21.

While carveouts were in place for terminally ill people under 21 and others for whom doctors can justify the smokable product that consumers prefer, the cap was briefly in play before getting pulled by the sponsor after Democrats and Republicans alike raised objections.

Such a fate likely won’t await the House play.

The issue, dormant much of the Legislative Session, was sparked anew last month when House Speaker Jose Oliva suggested a cap for flower and derivatives was a “priority.”

The Speaker argues new super-strains in “Europe” produce “schizophrenic results, especially in young, developing brains.”

Senate Budget Chief Rob Bradley said the cap faces an uphill battle in the Senate, House priority or not.

“I just don’t see how it can get through all of those procedural issues right now,” he said.

The Speaker, however, is willing to make that bet.

“I’m unaware of what particular hurdles they have there,” Oliva said.

Rather, he’s more concerned about whether there is an “appetite’ for such on the other side of the 4th Floor.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


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