Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed the measure that allows the use of a particular strain for epilepsy and cancer patients.
The measure passed with strong support in the Florida Legislature after legislators heard stories of children suffering from seizures who could be helped by the strain known as Charlotte’s Web.
Scott, who opposes a constitutional amendment to allow the use of medical marijuana, said in a statement that he does not want to see “kids suffer.”
e signed Senate Bill 1030, which approves the medication, nicknamed Charlotte’s Web, and SB 1700, which protects the identities of the patients who use it.
“As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer,” Scott said in a statement. “The approval of Charlotte’s Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illnesses will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life.”
An estimated 125,000 children in Florida suffer from severe epilepsy and their families lobbied hard to persuade reluctant legislators to open the door to limited use. It also could be used by adults.
Authorized patients will be allowed access to the drug through oil or vapor form, but it may not be smoked.
If 60 percent of Florida voters approve Amendment 2, it would allow doctors to prescribe other forms of marijuana, including the kind that is smoked, to treat an even wider range of conditions.
The bill was amended at the ninth hour to stiffen licensing requirements so that only Florida nursery owners with businesses in operation for 30 continuous years will be allowed to grow “Charlotte’s Web.”
Florida physicians who have been authorized to order this strain of medical marijuana can start writing prescriptions Jan. 1. It will be sold through dispensaries licensed by the state Department of Health.