Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Medical marijuana special session in limbo: It's up to Rick Scott or Joe Negron

TALLAHASSEE — As support builds for lawmakers to return to the state Capitol to pass medical marijuana language, two of the three men who could call a special session have been quiet about their plans.

Action from either Gov. Rick Scott or Senate President Joe Negron, R-Stuart, could bring lawmakers back to Tallahassee. On Monday, Scott continued to repeat a non-answer his office has put forward since calls for a special session on medical marijuana began May 6.

"I'm looking at all the options," Scott told reporters at a tourism event in Miami.

Negron, who could jointly call lawmakers into special session with House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, on Friday asked senators to weigh in on how to proceed after backroom dealing on medical marijuana fell apart in the final hours of the legislative session.

"I believe we should consider the best way to meet our constitutional obligation to implement Amendment 2," Negron wrote in the letter.

Corcoran already came out in support.

"There should be a special session on medical marijuana," he told the Times/Herald last week.

Though 71 percent of voters supported last year's Amendment 2, which legalized medical marijuana, lawmakers left Tallahassee after a nine-week session without passing a bill to put voters' wishes into effect. That kicks the issue to the Florida Department of Health, which faces a July 3 deadline to write rules.

There are three ways to convene a special session of the Legislature. Scott could call one on his own, or Negron and Corcoran could do so together. That would likely only happen if they can come to an agreement on what to put in a marijuana bill.

The third option is for three-fifths of both the House and Senate to agree to a special session. That's unlikely.

The last attempt to call a special session like this came in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting last June, when Democrats called for action on gun control and failed to get support of the required 72 House members and 24 senators.

In the last week, more lawmakers from both parties have joined the calls. At least 11 members of the House and Senate have endorsed a return to Tallahassee in interviews with the Times/Herald or with posts on social media.

Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, said that he wants a special session but that lawmakers should go back to the drawing board. He said policy ideas put forward were anti-free market and that there should be no limits on the number of growers and sellers.

As of Monday, here's which lawmakers have stated support for a session on medical marijuana:

• Corcoran, in an interview: "I think there should be a special session on medical marijuana."

• House Majority Leader and medical marijuana bill sponsor Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, in an interview: "I obviously support a special session. This is something that's best done by the Legislature rather than leaving it to the Department of Health."

• Medical marijuana bill sponsor Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, on Twitter: "It's 95 percent done. Let's finish the job!"

• Brandes, in a letter to Negron: "The Senate should agree that the drive of implementation language must be patient focused, not the interests of existing license holders."

• Sen. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, in line to be Senate president in 2018-20, on Twitter: "I agree with (Richard Corcoran). I support a special session to address medical marijuana implementation."

• Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, on Twitter: "I didn't support amendment 2 but we owe it to Floridians to implement it. Let's get it done."

• Sen. Travis Hutson, R-Elkton, on Twitter: "The FL Legislature should go back for a special session to deal with medical marijuana. I am ready and willing."

• Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-West Park, on Twitter: "I stand with (Richard Corcoran)! Call the special session, and let's do what 71% of Floridans asked us to do back in November."

• Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Coral Springs, on Twitter: "Over 70(!)% of my district voted in favor of med marijuana. I agree with (Speaker Richard Corcoran) — needs to be addressed #ASAP."

• Rep. Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, in line to be House speaker in 2020-22, in an interview: "I hope that we can reconvene in a special session, which should include ample time for public input, to implement the will of the voters, so that patients and entrepreneurs alike may access the marketplace."

• Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa, on Twitter: "Agree 100%. Our constituents voted for access to medical marijuana and it is our duty to go back to Tallahassee and work until it's done."

Miami Herald staff writer Martin Vassolo contributed to this report. Contact Michael Auslen at mauslen@tampabay.com. Follow @MichaelAuslen.

Medical marijuana special session in limbo: It's up to Rick Scott or Joe Negron 05/15/17 [Last modified: Monday, May 15, 2017 6:45pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida joins other states in ending 'tampon tax'

    Blogs

    From our friends at the Associated Press:

  2. Rubio, Nelson propose expansion of federal judgeships

    Blogs

    WASHINGTON - Florida Sens. Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson today proposed adding a number of federal judges to the state.

  3. Bar review: The Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg

    Bars & Spirits

    I've spent many evenings in St. Pete's Jannus Live courtyard, enjoying one of the best open-air venues in the Tampa Bay area. It's where I saw my first concert in Florida: Toadies, on the Rubberneck tour sometime in the mid '90s.

    The drinks at the Landing at Jannus in St. Petersburg are about as cheap as you’ll find at any other regular downtown bar, a nice surprise.
  4. Local craft beer of the week: Two Henrys Belleview-Biltmore Blueberry Vanilla Wheat

    Bars & Spirits

    Two Henrys Brewing Company is a unique entity in the Tampa Bay brewing scene, due to both its status as the only brewery in Plant City, as well as its location on a 27-acre working farm, which also includes a winery.

    Photo by Justin Grant
  5. Trump vows to crack down on Manchester leaks, chastises NATO

    World

    BRUSSELS — President Donald Trump vowed Thursday to crack down on leaks that prompted Manchester police to withhold information from the United States about the investigation into this week's bombing. He also chastised NATO leaders for not paying their fair share to protect the long-standing alliance.

    U.S. President Donald Trump is greeted by European Council President Donald Tusk as he arrives at the Europa building in Brussels on Thursday, May 25, 2017. Trump arrived in Belgium on Wednesday evening and will attend a NATO summit as well as meet EU and Belgian officials. [Associated Press]