Senate committee considers regulated marijuana dispensaries

Tallahassee, Florida -- Medical marijuana is making its way through the Florida House of Representatives, yet on Monday a Senate committee passed a proposal that could be more popular.

Seth Harper has known about medical marijuana for more than two decades. While growing up, his brother suffered from seizures.

"It was one of the worst things I had witnessed in my entire life," he said. "If [medical marijuana] helps people, that'll be good. It'll be at the doctor's discretion of how they prescribe it."

Now he's one of the strong advocates who plans on attending hearings for the medical marijuana bills.

"That's one thing we're doing ... out here, trying to change a culture," he said.

For some legislators, they're not sold that medical marijuana works and others believe passing it sends the wrong message. But, overall, it hasn't had much of a fight.

"For the most part, we're not hearing much opposition at all. In fact, to my knowledge, we've only had one no vote in the senate on this bill so far and it's been through two committees," said Sen. Jeff Brandes (Republican, St. Petersburg).

Sen. Brandes is one of the sponsors of SB 1030. His bill focuses on requiring the state to authorize up to four regulated dispensaries to distribute the drug for medical purposes. Whereas, the house version focuses on providing a legal defense for someone if they are caught with medical marijuana.

"I have heard the testimonies of these families and heard their struggle and for many of them this is their only hope."

The medical marijuana senate bill has one last committee stop. If it passes it will head to the senate floor for consideration.


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