Fla. Legislature Reaches Deal To Address Medical Marijuana

Setting aside a long-running feud among Florida's top Republicans, the GOP-controlled Legislature brought a whirlwind special session to a close Friday after approving a new budget for public schools and money to fix the dike that surrounds Lake Okeechobee.

The amendment, which was passed by 71 percent of voters in November, expands legal use beyond the limited prescriptions for low-strength marijuana allowed under a 2014 law.

Scott agreed to restore $60 million for 17 building construction and maintenance projects at universities that he had vetoed last week, including $1.7 million for the UCF downtown campus, a small reduction from the original $2 million.

That deal called for per pupil spending to be increased by $100, about $75 per pupil more than legislators had initially agreed upon, largely using money from Scott's vetoes of $410 million in local projects.

On Thursday, the Senate abandoned its push to pay for the increase through more property taxes but still used a different method to gather the money, relying in part on an override of Scott's veto.

"The House did not get everything the House wanted and the Senate did not get everything the Senate wanted", but the compromise bill is one "that both of us can live with and is actually very good policy", Rodrigues, R-Estero, said before the House's 103-9 vote in favor of the proposal (SB 8-A) Friday afternoon.

State lawmakers reached an agreement to make medical marijuana available in Florida, ending an impasse that derailed the issue last month.

The fight that spurred the need for a special session was a rolling battle between Corcoran and Scott over economic development agencies.

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Scott and the House, however, have not gone along with increasing hospital funding during the special session.

Legislature have been called in for a 3 day session where the state budget will be reviewed.

Senate President Joe Negron says the Senate won't approve the two bills unless House Republicans and Scott agree to back top Senate priorities.

House and Senate leaders say they are still in talks to iron out a deal and say they believe there is time today to reach an agreement.

"Our constitutional duty is to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana in the manner prescribed by Florida voters", Sen.

Rick Scott signed a measure flipping the responsibility onto prosecutors to prove defendants weren't acting in self-defense during "Stand Your Ground" cases.

"We drove down to the two-yard line, and we weren't able to punch it into a touchdown", Bradley told The News Service of Florida.

The bill would add 10 new growing licenses to the current seven, and allow 25 dispensaries for each of these new growers. The proposal would ban smoking medical marijuana, though it would allow vaping. "There's a lot of intrigue among the key players, there's some of the ropes moves every now and then, but at the end of the day we stand together, and in this session we won".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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