CANNABIS

Medical marijuana adversary takes crusade to Tallahassee as focus on THC caps grows

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
February 14, 2021 8:00 am

A Florida House subcommittee is meeting on Tuesday to focus on THC levels in medical marijuana. Cannabis advocates are calling the hearing the latest salvo against more than 330,000 registered patients that would lead to higher prices and less effective care.

The House Professions & Public Health Subcommittee is expected to hear testimony from Harvard Medical School professor Bertha Madras on “high-potency” marijuana. The two-hour meeting is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. (thefloridachannel.org).

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Madras (at right) is a highly vocal and worldwide anti-marijuana crusader. And no stranger to Tallahassee.

In October 2019, Madras told a House committee that “Marijuana is not benign. It is not safe. It is addictive,” the Tallahassee Democrat reported. “It is the most self-delusional drug of all.”

More recent, Madras told New Zealand’s Say No To Dope in September that marijuana is “one of the most visible cases of science denial I’ve seen in decades.”

The subcommittee does not plan to hear other sides of the issue, according to its agenda.

“Public testimony will not be solicited” because draft legislation is not under consideration.

Political activist Ben Pollara and Florida For Care contend the hearing is an effort by some state lawmakers to cap THC levels in smokable marijuana at 10%. The result, Pollara said in multiple statewide emails to media and cannabis supporters, will be “a giant tax” on medical pot patients.

“THC caps equal a medical marijuana tax on patients – something the Legislature swore up and down it wouldn’t do right after 71% [of Florida] voted to legalize medical cannabis back in 2016,” Pollara said.

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According to Pollara (left) and Florida For Care:

● The average minimum THC content for most flower sold in Florida is roughly 15% with most strains in the 15-25% range.

● A 10% cap would equal at least a 50% increase on the cost of flower.

● THC caps mean patients need to smoke between 50% and 150% more marijuana to achieve the same or similar medicinal effect.

“THC percentages are not necessarily the most important thing to patients,” Pollara said, “but they absolutely matter. For the vast majority of patients, there is a direct correlation between the amount of THC … and the strength and duration [for] relief.”

John Morgan, the personal injury lawyer who guided Amendment 2 across the finish line in 2016, has weighed in from the sidelines through tweets, including on Friday: #Cannabis is the answer for so many with PTSD, anxiety & depression.

Many Florida cannabis advocates expect Morgan eventually will throw more of his muscle behind statewide efforts to legalize recreational pot.

For Pollara, a cap on THC means “The harm to patients would be immeasurable,” predicting such a move “would undoubtedly send [patients back] to the black market.”


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