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Republican senator files bill to expand medicinal marijuana laws

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg sponsors medical marijuana bill

Ohio residents voted down a measure that would have made both recreational and medicinal marijuana legal on Nov. 3. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Ohio residents voted down a measure that would have made both recreational and medicinal marijuana legal on Nov. 3. Take a look at which states currently allow marijuana for recreational and/or medicinal purposes, compiled by the National Conference of State Legislatures. (SXC)

MIAMI-DADE, Fla. St. Petersburg Sen. Jeff Brandes proposed a bill Monday that would allow physicians in Florida to prescribe "medical-grade" marijuana to their patients with specified medical conditions.

Under The Florida Medical Marijuana Act,  the Department of Health would regulate the cultivation and not the Department of Agriculture.

County commissioners would be responsible for providing a retail license to the dispensaries, which must hold a $1 million bond, the legislation says.

"It is critically important that we thoroughly vet any proposal related to medical cannabis," Brandes said on Facebook. "And I am confident that this legislation will be carefully reviewed through the legislative process."

The 28-page bill lists 14 illnesses including cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), epilepsy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and Parkinson's disease.

Patients and caregivers would need to apply for identification to a medical marijuana registry. The supply would be limited to 30 days, according to the legislation.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott would need to sign the bill for it to become law. He signed the restricted "Charlottes Web" bill.

Currently 23 states have legalized marijuana for medical use including Washington, Alaska, Colorado and Oregon, which allow recreational use.