Wednesday, January 17, 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
Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

Christie leaves as unpopular N.J. governor, but with no broken legs

TRENTON, N.J. — Republican Chris Christie left the New Jersey governor’s office with his popularity in tatters, but at least he didn’t break a leg. Christie is the first elected New Jersey governor in more than two decades not to suffer a broken leg ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
23 seek vacant PSC post

23 seek vacant PSC post

There is another Mariano seeking a job in Tallahassee.Pasco County Commissioner Jack Mariano, the father of state Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson, is seeking an appointment to the Florida Public Service Commission, the powerful board regulating Florida ...
Published: 01/16/18
Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

Trump administration to take DACA repeal directly to the Supreme Court

SAN FRANCISCO — The Trump administration on Tuesday appealed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking its decision to end protections for hundreds of thousands of young immigrants and announced plans to seek a U.S. Supreme Court review even before an ap...
Published: 01/16/18
North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea calls Trump a ‘lunatic’ and a ‘loser’ in response to nuclear button tweet

North Korea’s official news agency responded Tuesday to President Donald Trump’s controversial "nuclear button tweet," describing it as the "the spasm of a lunatic," according to AP."The spasm of Trump in the new year reflects the desperate mental st...
Published: 01/16/18
‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

‘What do we want? Apology!’ Hundreds of Haiti supporters protest near Mar-a-Lago

Sun Sentinel (TNS)PALM BEACH — About 500 Haitian-Americans and their supporters used the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday to protest derogatory comments President Donald Trump reportedly made about immigrants from majority-black countries."What do we w...
Published: 01/15/18

U.S. forced to renew DACA permits as furor over Trump’s immigration slur persists

Los Angeles Times (TNS)WASHINGTON — The Trump administration, under court order, said it would resume taking applications to renew temporary protections from deportation for hundreds of thousands of immigrants who were brought to the country illegall...
Published: 01/14/18
GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

GOP senator: Reports of Trump’s ‘s---hole’ comments a ‘gross misrepresentation’

A Republican senator is insisting that President Donald Trump did not use a vulgar term in referring to African countries during a closed-door meeting on immigration that he and five other senators attended last week.Georgia Sen. David Perdue called ...
Published: 01/14/18
The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

The Trump-O-Meter: PolitiFact rates Donald Trump's first year

By Angie Drobnic Holan PolitiFact Editor Much of Donald Trump’s presidency has been defined by provocative tweets and gloves-off fights. But Trump has used the power of the presidency to move the country toward the overarching vision he ran o...
Published: 01/12/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

Ethics panel advised to deny legal fees in unfounded Ken Hagan complaint

A Florida Ethics Commission staff attorney has drafted an order denying Hillsborough County’s request for reimbursement for attorney fees from one of four citizens who filed unsustained ethics complaints against Commissioner Ken Hagan.The commission ...
Published: 01/12/18
Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur:

Haitians in Tampa Bay area react to Trump’s slur: "It’s very racist"

Fadia Richardson had just finished dinner Thursday when she sat down to watch the news and saw a report she didn’t want to believe.In an Oval Office meeting with lawmakers to discuss immigration policy earlier in the day, President Donald Trump repor...
Published: 01/12/18