Florida now officially recognizes marijuana as a substance with medical benefits -- well, at least in some very narrow cases.
As expected, Gov. Rick Scott signed the "Charlotte's Web" bill into law today. The bill allows certain strains of noneuphoric marijuana tincture to be used to treat a very short list of maladies, including childhood epilepsy.
"As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer," the governor said in a statement. "The approval of Charlotte's Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life."
Of course, cynics might point out that Scott's signing of the bill may have just as much to do with his opposition to a wider medical marijuana policy in Florida as it does children.
No law gets passed in Florida without wide Republican support, and it's not much of a surprise that the GOP took up the Charlotte's Web bill the same year that a medical marijuana initiative is on the ballot in November.
If the amendment passes, Floridians suffering from diseases would be able to seek prescriptions for regular ol' medical-grade marijuana to treat ailments such as cancer, glaucoma, and HIV.
Several Republicans, including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, are hoping the Charlotte's Web bill will undercut the medical marijuana debate in Florida. But it's not just Republicans who feel that way. DNC chief Debbie Wasserman Schultz is also skeptical of the amendment.
In several children with epilepsy, the cannabidiol content (i.e., not the THC) of marijuana has been one of the few effective substances that gives them relief. The particular strain used for "Charlotte's Web" contains very little THC.