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2016 Elections

Orange Park Senator Foresees ‘Smooth’ Implementation Of Medical Marijuana Amendment 2

RobBradley_0.jpg
Florida Senate

Florida voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved an amendment to the state’s constitution expanding the availability of medical marijuana.

That’s two years after lawmakers passed the state’s first medical cannabis law.

More than 70 percent of Floridians voted yes on 2, which allows the medicine for specific debilitating conditions like AIDS or cancer. It also gives doctor’s leeway to decide whether other conditions are severe enough to warrant marijuana.

Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park, who sponsored the first bill, said he expects implementing the new amendment will be easy.

Bradley thinks Florida is in a better position than some states because it already went through the “growing pains” of building the foundation for medical marijuana.

“We are not getting caught flat-footed. There is infrastructure already in place. There is a regulatory system already in place to handle the new patients that are going to come on board with the passage of Amendment 2,” he said.

In 2014, Bradley’s bill allowing for non-smoked cannabis that doesn’t cause a high was fraught with disagreements over which entities should be licensed to grow, distribute and sell the product.

Eventually the Department of Health’s fledgling Office of Compassionate Use settled on a regulatory framework.

Still, court challenges remained as lawmakers expanded medical marijuana last year by allowing terminally ill patients to use the smokable product.

Bradley said he’s comfortable with the latest expansion to non-terminal patients, but he’s drawing a line the sand.

“I think recreational marijuana is a bridge too far. Right now the research is not where it needs to be when it comes to the appropriate uses for medical purposes,” he said.

A similar amendment failed in 2014, which Bradley said was because of its broad wording.

Listen to this story airing on Redux:

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.