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Sen. Dwight Bullard tries again with recreational marijuana bill

Not that it stands a snow ball’s chance in hell of passing the uber-conservative Florida Legislature, but South Florida Democrat Dwight Bullard has proposed a recreational legalization bill in the Senate.

Bullard filed the bill Tuesday that would allow anyone 21 or older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. The bill would also allow individuals to cultivate six plants in their homes.

Here’s the 50-page bill’s summary:

“Ten percent of the revenues derived from retail tobacco products dealer permit fees collected under s. 569.003 shall be  transferred to the Department of Education to provide for teacher training and for research and evaluation to reduce and prevent the use of tobacco products by children.”

“Until January 1, 2024, an amount equal to 5 percent of  the revenues received by the division during the previous month pursuant to the tax imposed by s. 566.012 shall be transferred to the Department of Health to be used to provide grants for the purpose of producing peer-reviewed research on marijuana’s beneficial uses and safety.”

“Except as otherwise expressly provided in this act, this act shall take effect July 1, 2016.”

Bullard’s bill expands two other bills in the House and Senate that would allow for the limited use of marijuana for medical purposes. Sen. Jeff Brandes’ bill would allow a broad use of the drug for people suffering from infirmities such as cancer, epilepsy and ALS as well as those with chronic and persistent pain. It would allow for smoke-able marijuana.

The bill in the House sponsored by Rep. Greg Steube would also allow medical marijuana use in the state, but would limit the number of people who would qualify and would not allow the drug to be smoked.

Bullard introduced a similar recreational-use bill last year, but it failed to get a vote in committee. His bill is likely to go about as far this year.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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