Jeff Brandes doesn't like the medical pot deal
Negotiators in the House and Senate have reached agreement on how to put medical marijuana into effect. But one senator says lawmakers are going about it the wrong way.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, was the first lawmaker to publicly support Amendment 2, which 71 percent of voters supported, forcing lawmakers to implement medical marijuana. On Thursday, he proposed an alternative to House and Senate leaders' plan. He has long been a critic of the way lawmakers are going about implementing medical pot, saying it is too regulated.
A key disagreement: From the beginning, House and Senate negotiations have centered on a system that would require any company licensed to sell marijuana to grow, process and dispense the drug. Brandes supports allowing companies to choose to do one or multiple of those functions.
He also would allow smoking in his proposal.
"This proposal is the purest implementation proposal that the Legislature has seen to date for Amendment 2," Brandes said in a statement. "For the first time, the Florida Senate will have an opportunity to vote consistent with our Republican principles of free markets and fair competition."
The House and Senate plan to vote Friday on a deal (HB 5, SB 8) legislative leaders agreed to privately late Tuesday night.
During a Senate meeting late Thursday, lawmakers will face a vote on Brandes' proposal. Given that a deal was already struck, however, its odds of passing are slim.