Florida state Reps. Katie Edwards and Matt Gaetz have taken the initial steps for a bill that would legalize limited-potency medical cannabis in Florida, namely strains high in cannabidiol (CBD) that can help with pain and seizures.
The pair say that their proposal stems from the now well-known, high-CBD, Colorado-bred strain dubbed “Charlotte’s Web” that has helped dozen of children suffering from severe seizures and shows promise for many other therapies as well.
Edwards says she became interested in cannabis therapies for children after being introduced years ago to Rebecca Hyman, a Florida girl born with a genetic disorder that causes up to 200 seizures a day. While Hyman and her family have remained in Florida, many others in their situation are leaving for Colorado and other medical marijuana states.
Edwards, a Democrat from Plantation, says she is working on the measure in part because a proposed legalization ballot measure is tied up in the state Supreme Court and nobody is sure if it will even get to voters.
“The bottom line is, the Legislature has to get involved at some point,” she tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel. “It’s a glimmer of hope for these families.They look at something like Charlotte’s Web and wonder why we can’t do that in Florida. The bottom line is that we need to allow researchers to have access to cannabis so that they may study the strains of CBD and develop safe and effective medications in a pill, topical or oil form.”
Gaetz, a Republcan from Fort Walton Beach, is holding a workshop in the Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee on January 9 with medical marijuana supporters as well as local law enforcement.
“We need to get feedback from law enforcement, prosecutors, parents and doctors,” Gaetz said. “I’m willing to entertain the discussion and we’ll see where it goes from there.”
Interestingly, the pair seem to be laser focused on just Charlotte’s Web. While it is no-doubt an incredible plant and has proven beneficial for a number of Colorado kids, it’s a closely guarded product owned by one Colorado dispensary. There are many other high-CBD strains out there that are more freely distributed.