Momentum builds in the Legislature for medical marijuana THC caps

Florida state flag with marijuana leaf
A path in the Senate?

Caps on THC, the euphoria-inducing chemical found in many strains of medical cannabis, are again an open question in the Florida Legislature.

Efforts in previous years to implement caps hit roadblocks in the Senate, but Senate President Wilton Simpson now suggests there is a more sustained interest this year.

With more than 485,000 licensed medical cannabis patients in the state, the future of medical cannabis is no longer a niche concern.

“It’s one of those issues I’m going to allow senators to respond to through the committee process. That’s something that we’ve looked at, at least the last two or three years that I’ve been here in the Senate,” Simpson said.

“A Senator or a chairman of a Senate committee decided we weren’t moving forward,” Simpson said, responding to a question Thursday from POLITICO Florida’s Arek Sarkissian.

“But it’s certainly something that’s on the table. I think we have a lot of senators who would support an idea like that. So it’s something that will be considered in the committee process,” Simpson added. “I’m not engaging in these bills. And accordingly, I’m letting the committee process work. But I do think there’s a lot of support in the Senate for that type of bill.”

The committee chairs have ultimate discretion over whether to hear bills, Simpson noted.

“We’re going to allow that process to happen,” the Trilby Republican added.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls likewise has said he “invites the discussion,” noting his own concerns with THC levels.

The THC cap bills, at this point, are unfiled. And committee chairs have killed many a push before, including on this issue. But adult and youth caps have been considered in the past, as recently as last year’s Session.

Back in 2020, the Senate wrestled with the issue of a 10% THC cap for patients under the age of 21, added by the House as an 11th hour amendment on an unrelated bill.

After some back and forth, the House conceded and that provision was stricken from the legislation before final passage.

However, the House sponsor of the legislation, Rep. Ray Rodrigues, is now in the Senate. And those left in the House are hearing what have become perennial horror stories about cannabis, particularly in high-potency strains.

A House subcommittee this week heard from Dr. Bertha Madras, an anti-cannabis activist who likened sativa and indica to crystal meth and crack cocaine.

“High potency is associated with more brain changes, addiction, psychosis and hospitalizations,” Madras asserted, herself even noting that causation hasn’t been extensively studied.

Democrats weren’t sold.

“I’m not sure if I should start running for the hills, or running for a dispensary to relieve my anxiety around so much of what’s been presented,” Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith said.

THC cap legislation is being piloted elsewhere. Legislation is pending in Colorado and Washington, looking to curb the use of a substance lawmakers say is dangerous, but patients contend is medicine.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at [email protected]


14 comments

  • DisplacedCTYankee

    February 18, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    G%d forbid anybody should actually feel better from smoking a joint.

  • Karellen

    February 18, 2021 at 2:33 pm

    The GQP. Your delusional,authoritarian,regressive Fascist Party. Tell you what,lets lower the maximum alcohol content in beverages sold in this state to 1/3 of what is legal now. Think of the lives saved with fewer drunk driving fatalities and health related deaths. Not to mention the reduction of domestic violence incidents fueled by alcohol. Disgusting,but to be expected by these clowns.

  • Tera rose

    February 18, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    Should tax meds shouldn’t tax this

  • Ron Kirkland

    February 19, 2021 at 7:28 am

    What are we still living in the 1930`s with refer madness? So many studies and actual users for over 50 years with no bad side effects that I know of! Many Vietnam Veterans know too about pre PSTD! Why can our elected officials not figure it all out? College educations and all sorts of guidance, most for cannabis but reefer madness prevails? Vote naysayers right out of office. The Peoples Plan! Duh, over medicate with cannabis and peacefully fall asleep not drive drunk and fight at the bars?

  • jim

    February 19, 2021 at 7:49 am

    if shit goes down im ma bust someones kneecap n mk them feel my pain

  • Billy O’Rourke

    February 19, 2021 at 8:27 am

    These morons need to chill out.

  • Ron Ogden

    February 19, 2021 at 4:11 pm

    “Lower the maximum alcohol content. . .?” Let’s see, ex Tampa Bay Buc star found dead after three days in a motel was a chronic alcoholic, um. . .serial drunk driver with three times the limit kills a deputy in Pinellas, and then former baseball star from Orlando gets drunk, drives and resists a cop. Yeah, Karellen, it is time to start thinking about that. How the hell many drunks do we need in this state? How many people blowing juiced up marijuana? Hey, it’s America. . .it’s all good, right?

  • Palmer Tom

    February 19, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    Another attempt to sidetrack the voters’ will.

  • Ron Kirkland

    February 20, 2021 at 7:00 am

    All of God`s green grass is for us to partake! Not to be told what we can do by some Authoritative Against God`s Green Grass??? My opinion is rapidly growing World Wide no matter what some closed minded Republican senators think and their friendly rehab doctors in their back pocket!!!

  • Ron Ogden

    February 20, 2021 at 9:44 am

    “All of God’s green grass is for us to partake.” Now there is someone who obviously knows whereof he speaks.

  • nelson

    February 26, 2021 at 1:08 pm

    What these stupid politicians don’t see is the human factor, people not like to be told what to do. No one is going to buy it ,@10% is garbage. all this stupid politician are going to do is increase crime because people are just going to get it from there local drug dealer whit no regulation of any kind or taxes collected . is time to vote this OBSOLETE politician out of office. I am a republican and if they continue to mess whit my medicine I’M GOING TO VOTE BLUE ALL ACROSS TO BOARD NEXT ELECTION.

  • nelson

    February 26, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    i don’t qualify any more because they already change the law. BACK TO TE LOCAL DRUG DEALER for my medicine.

Comments are closed.


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