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. Dade City man dies after crashing into county bus, troopers say

    Public Safety

    ZEPHYRHILLS — A 38-year-old man died Tuesday after colliding into the rear of a county bus on U.S. 301, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

  2. Suspicious device at Pinellas Park home was a spent artillery round, police say

    Public Safety

    PINELLAS PARK — Bomb squad investigators determined that a "suspicious device" found at a Pinellas Park home Tuesday afternoon was a spent artillery round, police said.

  3. NFL rewards Tampa Bay's track record, preparation with another Super Bowl

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay got lucky on Tuesday.

    We are getting a Super Bowl. We are getting a Super Bowl that we weren't supposed to get. We're getting a Super Bowl that we once were told we wouldn't get.

    Then came good luck.

    Mike Tomlin celebrates with LaMarr Woodley and Troy Polamalu after the Steelers beat the Cardinals in 


Super Bowl XLIII  on February 1, 2009 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. [Times files (2009)
  4. Baker fundraiser all about "Seamless City"

    Blogs

    Rick Baker kicked off a fundraiser Tuesday night at the Morean Arts Center making light of his 40-minute announcement speech two weeks ago on the steps of City Hall.

    Rick Baker speaks at a fundraiser at the Morean Arts Center Tuesday
  5. How did Florida National Guard miss soldier's neo-Nazi leanings?

    Military

    Brandon Russell, a private first class assigned to Company C of the 53rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion in Pinellas Park, has been in the Florida National Guard since February, 2016.

    Brandon Russell, 21, of Tampa, is a Florida National Guardsman accused in a federal complaint of illegal possession of explosives. [From YouTube]