Amendment 2 won with 71% of the vote last November and Florida lawmakers are still arguing over how to best establish the state medical marijuana system.

The Florida legislative session ended on May 5th without elected officials establishing common ground on how to best regulate the state’s medical marijuana industry. Amended on the final day of Florida’s legislative session, the House modified H. B. 1397 to impose a restriction of 100 retail dispensaries for each of the state’s medical marijuana operators – while the Senate proposed 10.

Now, a special session is necessary. And provided state representatives refuse to come back for a special legislative session to negotiate and finalize the rules governing Amendment 2, that responsibility would then be determined by the Florida Department of Health.

Either through a special legislative session or the Department of Health, Floridians need to establish their medical marijuana regulations by July 3, 2017, in order to meet the October deadline for implementing Amendment 2.

Concerned the health department would adopt overly restrictive regulations, Florida’s Speaker of the House Richard Corcoran was critical of the department’s ability to govern the program. On Wednesday, Corcoran spoke with WFLA-FM radio where he clearly made his frustration evident: “To just leave it to bureaucrats sitting over at the Department of Health I think would be a gross injustice.”

Anxious for elected officials to return to the state capital, Corcoran concluded, “I do believe and support the notion that we should come back and address and finalize dealing with medical marijuana.”

Currently, there are 15 Representatives that have openly called for a special session, “either on social media or in interviews.” According to the Tampa Bay Times, the below list represents Florida’s politicians standing up for the 71% of the electorate that voted for medical marijuana:

  • Sen. Tom Lee, R-Thonotosassa (just joined the calls on Tuesday)
  • Corcoran, in an interview: “I think there should be a special session on medical marijuana.”
  • House Majority Leader and medical marijuana bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, in an interview: “I obviously support a special session. This is something that’s best done by the Legislature rather than leaving it to the Department of Health.”
  • Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, in a letter to Negron: “The Senate should agree that the drive of implementation language must be patient focused, not the interests of existing license holders.”
  • Sen. Darryl Rouson, in a memo to lawmakers: “Let us not forgo our duties to our constituents and the Constitution of Florida.”
  • Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, in line to be House speaker in 2020-22, in an interview: “I hope that we can reconvene in a special session, which should include ample time for public input, to implement the will of the voters, so that patients and entrepreneurs alike may access the marketplace.”
  • Medical marijuana bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, on Twitter: “It’s 95 percent done. Let’s finish the job!”
  • Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, in line to be Senate president in 2018-20, on Twitter: “I agree with (Richard Corcoran). I support a special session to address medical marijuana implementation.”
  • Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, on Twitter: “I stand with (Richard Corcoran)! Call the special session, and let’s do what 71% of Floridans asked us to do back in November.”

Ordinarily, special sessions are called for by the Gov. or by agreement of the House Speaker and Senate President. Speaker Richard Corcoran (R) has already called for a special session and Pres. Joe Negron (R), is strongly considering one.

As for Gov. Scott, he’s reportedly “looking at all the options.”

In the below YouTube video, John Morgan, explains how Florida got where it is today.

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