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Healthcare bill breathes new life into proposal to cap strong smokable medical pot

CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times 
While sitting at her dining room table, Cathy Jordan, 63, of Parrish inhales a marijuana joint  held by her husband, Robert Jordan, 65. Cathy was diagnosed 27 years ago with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She has been smoking marijuana ever since and says it has slowed the progression of her disease. Earlier on, she had better control of her limbs when she smoked than when she didn't. Now it dries out her mouth and keeps her from drooling spittle. It also helps her cough up phlegm in the morning. Most people with ALS die within 5 years of diagnosis, though some people, like physicist Stephen Hawking, have lived for decades. Cathy can no longer hold a joint, so her husband Robert lights it and holds it to her lips. He doesn't inhale he says because he worries that drug testing could interfer with reatment he receives from the Veteran's Administration for post traumatic stress syndrome.Medical marijuana is expected to be on the ballot in Florida for the 2014 general election. A petition campaign to get it there will kick off in June. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
CHERIE DIEZ | Times While sitting at her dining room table, Cathy Jordan, 63, of Parrish inhales a marijuana joint held by her husband, Robert Jordan, 65. Cathy was diagnosed 27 years ago with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. She has been smoking marijuana ever since and says it has slowed the progression of her disease. Earlier on, she had better control of her limbs when she smoked than when she didn't. Now it dries out her mouth and keeps her from drooling spittle. It also helps her cough up phlegm in the morning. Most people with ALS die within 5 years of diagnosis, though some people, like physicist Stephen Hawking, have lived for decades. Cathy can no longer hold a joint, so her husband Robert lights it and holds it to her lips. He doesn't inhale he says because he worries that drug testing could interfer with reatment he receives from the Veteran's Administration for post traumatic stress syndrome.Medical marijuana is expected to be on the ballot in Florida for the 2014 general election. A petition campaign to get it there will kick off in June. CHERIE DIEZ | Times
Published Apr. 30, 2019

While House Health & Human Services Chairman Ray Rodrigues' bill to cap medical THC — the naturally occurring element in marijuana that produces a high — was never heard on the floor and failed to get a Senate companion, the Estero Republican's proposal is not dead yet.

But although there is only a matter of days left in the legislative session, the proposal to cap strong medical pot was tacked on as an amendment to a larger health-related agency bill, as often happens to some major changes in the final days of session.

The amendment was filed to a Senate bill dealing with the Department of Health and could be taken up later Tuesday night on the House floor. The proposal would limit the amount of THC, in dried leaves and marijuana flowers to 10 percent, citing research indicating that high-potency marijuana is associated with earlier onset of psychosis and the development of schizophrenia in marijuana users.

Current law places a limit on the amount of THC in edible products only, which may only contain 10 mg of THC per serving and 200 mg in total. The levels are much higher than what most patients would normally consume, according to industry experts.

Despite criticism that the bill is trying to curb the Legislature’s recent repeal of a ban on smoking medical marijuana, committee chair Rep. Ray Rodrigues said the bill is necessary because of the research around harmful effects of high-THC marijuana.

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