Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed a bill into law to allow terminally ill patients to use full-strength marijuana in the last year of their lives.
The bill, CS/HB 307, adds cannabis to the list of experimental drugs available to patients diagnosed with illnesses that could result in death within a year without life-saving interventions.
The state Senate approved the measure March 7 on a 28-11 vote, with the House passing it on a 99-16 vote the week before. With Gov. Scott’s signature, it is now in effect.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said the measure stems from some lawmakers’ frustration with other legislation, the 2014 Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, also called known as the Charlotte’s Web bill.
Challenges to the CMCA have kept the low-THC medical marijuana authorized in that bill from hitting the market and the hands of cancer patients and young people suffering debilitating seizures.
Another bill passed in 2015, the Right to Try Act, allows eligible patients with terminal conditions to try investigational drugs. However, that law did not address cannabis.
The new bill allows doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to patients eligible under Right to Try, while also adding medical pot to be regulated under the 2014 law.
Opponents have argued the bill does nothing to help the people hoping to obtain low-THC pot, while opening the door for medical marijuana in Florida.