If you haven't heard of House Bill 1455, you've probably been living under a rock. The bill has been a controversial topic among Florida lawmakers, residents, and medical marijuana patients. Basically, the bill would have limited the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in medical marijuana. THC is the primary part that is responsible for the drug's high. Supporters of the bill wanted to cut back on people seeking their medical marijuana cards simply for the high of the drug.
This article explores why the bill flopped, and what it means for patients in Florida.
The Sudden Halt of House Bill 1455
In March, this controversial bill was voted on by lawmakers. Many Republican lawmakers voted to advance the bill, working to limit the THC in medical marijuana, as well as impose other limits on the drug, which is currently helping over 530,000 people!
The last committee that needed to hear the proposed bill before it could be brought before the House was Health and Human Services.
On Monday, April 19th, the committee held their last meeting that had been scheduled and they reportedly did not address the bill at all. Since they needed to address it before it can be brought into the House, this has put a serious dent in the bill's advancement, which is a huge win for medical marijuana patients.
“I think the bill is effectively dead,” said Spencer Roach... “I don’t see a path forward.”
Doomed from the Start
The bill was seemingly doomed from the start. It gained very little momentum in the Senate when it was originally brought up as the proposal SB 1958.
Screenshot from Ballotpedia
The chair of the Health and Human Services Committee, Rep. Colleen Burton, said that they had passed on listening to the House Bill 1455 because the Senate version (SB 1958) had pretty much flopped so hard that this bill had a slim shot at becoming an actual law. Therefore, it wasn't worth their time.
“When it gets to this late in session, we really need to concentrate on the bills where we seem to have a better partnership between the Senate and the House,” Burton said.
Of course, this did not stop people from protesting the bill during the last few weeks. People signed petitions and even traveled to Tallahassee to protest this bill.
What does this mean for medical marijuana patients?
Medical marijuana has helped many people within the state of Florida, where it is legalized as long as a doctor recommends it as a suitable treatment option for a qualifying condition. The failure of this bill means that doctors will still have the power to prescribe medical marijuana to patients and control the doses and recommendations. If they think that a higher THC will help a patient, then they can continue to prescribe such treatment.