All signs point toward Floridians approving a medical marijuana proposal on November's ballot, but the legislature could ease the Sunshine State toward some legalized pot all on their own during this month's session.
One measure, which would kick start research funding into medical marijuana and legalize a non-euphoric strain for epilepsy patients, passed through a House committee with no opposition yesterday.
The bill, HB 843, deals with only one special niche in the medical marijuana field: Using strains of pot with low levels of THC -- the chemical that causes users to get high -- to treat children with types of epilepsy that are difficult to treat with traditional medication.
In Colorado, a special cultivation of marijuana named "Charlotte's Web" has helped children deal with epileptic fits.
Yesterday, the House Appropriations Committee heard testimony from Florida parents who have traveled to Colorado to try the treatment on their own children. Petyon Moseley told the committee how he'd planned to bring his 11-year-old daughter to the House to talk about her condition but that she'd had to go to the hospital instead after a round of seizures.
"This morning was one of those mornings where we were blessed that she woke up,'' he told the committee, the Miami Herald reports.
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Despite some concerns about a "slippery slope" effect and opposition from the Florida Medical Association, the bill passed unanimously.
The measure also gives $1 million to universities to study Charlotte's Web and its usefulness in combatting epilepsy.
The bill now awaits a hearing in the Judiciary Committee.