Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Politics

Medical marijuana special session in limbo: It's up to Rick Scott or Joe Negron

TALLAHASSEE — As support builds for lawmakers to return to the state Capitol to pass medical marijuana language, two of the three men who could call a special session have been quiet about their plans.

Action from either Gov. Rick Scott or Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, could bring lawmakers back to Tallahassee. On Monday, Scott continued to repeat a non-answer his office has put forward since calls for a special session on medical marijuana began May 6.

"I'm looking at all the options," Scott told reporters at a tourism event in Miami.

Negron, who could jointly call lawmakers into special session with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, on Friday asked senators to weigh in on how to proceed after backroom dealing on medical marijuana fell apart in the final hours of the legislative session.

"I believe we should consider the best way to meet our constitutional obligation to implement Amendment 2," Negron wrote in the letter.

Corcoran already came out in support.

"There should be a special session on medical marijuana," he told the Times/Herald last week.

Though 71 percent of voters supported last year's Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana, lawmakers left Tallahassee after a nine-week session without passing a bill to put voters' wishes into effect. That kicks the issue to the Florida Department of Health, which faces a July 3 deadline to write rules.

There are three ways to convene a special session of the Legislature. Scott could call one on his own, or Negron and Corcoran could do so together. That would likely only happen if they can come to an agreement on what to put in a marijuana bill.

The third option is for three-fifths of both the House and Senate to agree to a special session. That's unlikely.

The last attempt to call a special session like this came in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting last June, when Democrats called for action on gun control and failed to get support of the required 72 House members and 24 senators.

In the last week, more lawmakers from both parties have joined the calls. At least 11 members of the House and Senate have endorsed a return to Tallahassee in interviews with the Times/Herald or with posts on social media.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said that he wants a special session but that lawmakers should go back to the drawing board. He said policy ideas put forward were anti-free market and that there should be no limits on the number of growers and sellers.

As of Monday, here's which lawmakers have stated support for a session on medical marijuana:

• 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."

• Medical marijuana bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, on Twitter: "It's 95 percent done. Let's finish the job!"

• Brandes, 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. 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. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, on Twitter: "I didn't support amendment 2 but we owe it to Floridians to implement it. Let's get it done."

• Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, on Twitter: "The FL Legislature should go back for a special session to deal with medical marijuana. I am ready and willing."

• 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."

• Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, on Twitter: "Over 70(!)% of my district voted in favor of med marijuana. I agree with (Speaker Richard Corcoran) — needs to be addressed #ASAP."

• 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."

• Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, on Twitter: "Agree 100%. Our constituents voted for access to medical marijuana and it is our duty to go back to Tallahassee and work until it's done."

Miami Herald staff writer Martin Vassolo contributed to this report. Contact Michael Auslen at [email protected] Follow @MichaelAuslen.

 
Comments
Hey kids, you really stink at this voting business

Hey kids, you really stink at this voting business

The public service announcement begins with an insult.This works on several levels for the audience of teenagers.It grabs their attention and makes them laugh. It also happens to be wickedly accurate, and it pretty much explains why Pasco Supervisor ...
Published: 09/25/18
Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign

Rod Rosenstein, who had been overseeing Russia probe, has offered to resign

WASHINGTON - Deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein has told White House officials he is willing to resign in the wake of revelations he once suggested secretly recording the president, but itís unclear if the resignation has been accepted, according...
Published: 09/24/18
Solar farm land price is $6.8 million, including $4.4 million to state Sen. Wilton Simpson

Solar farm land price is $6.8 million, including $4.4 million to state Sen. Wilton Simpson

Tampa Electric Co. has said its Mountain View Solar project near Dade City represented a $75 million investment in alternative energy. The investing began in earnest last week when the utility paid more than $6.8 million for 382 acres in the rural co...
Published: 09/24/18
US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

US considers limit on green cards for immigrants on benefits

SAN DIEGO — The Trump administration has proposed rules that could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance.Federal law already requires those seeking green cards t...
Published: 09/23/18
Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to  testify at Kavanaugh hearing

Christine Blasey Ford reaches deal to testify at Kavanaugh hearing

The woman who has accused Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers has committed to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday, her lawyers said Sunday. The lawyers said some details — including whe...
Published: 09/23/18

AP source: Kavanaugh, Ford agree to testify on Thursday

WASHINGTON ó Negotiators reached a tentative agreement Saturday for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hear testimony Thursday from Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault from decades ago, two...
Published: 09/22/18

Trump administration aims to sharply restrict new green cards for those on public aid

WASHINGTON ó Trump administration officials announced Saturday that immigrants who legally use public benefits like food assistance and Section 8 housing vouchers could be denied green cards under new rules aimed at keeping out people the administrat...
Published: 09/22/18
Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

Dana Young, Janet Cruz spar over guns, schools, environment in crucial Senate race

TAMPA ó During a showdown Friday in Floridaís most hotly contested state Senate race, Democratic challenger Janet Cruz launched fireworks at Dana Young over education funding, the environment and guns.Young, the Republican incumbent in District 18, r...
Published: 09/21/18
Drug bill canít undo damage

Drug bill canít undo damage

On Sept. 5, two months before Election Day where heís running for a seventh term, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis filed a bill to clarify a 2016 law he co-sponsored that made it nearly impossible for the Drug Enforcement Administration to intercept suspiciou...
Published: 09/20/18
Updated: 09/23/18
Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

Confederate group banned from Temple Terrace country club, may take legal action

TEMPLE TERRACE — After complaints from city residents, the Temple Terrace Golf & Country Club has notified the City Council that it will not rent space again to the Sons of Confederate Veterans for its annual banquet.The country clubȁ...
Published: 09/20/18