TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Cap News Services) – Limits on the amount of THC in medical marijuana would be imposed under a bill approved by its first House committee Tuesday morning.
The bill aims to prevent medical marijuana from being treated as a recreational drug, but opponents argue there’s no justification for the measure.
Representative Spencer Roach likens what he’s seeing now in the state’s medical marijuana industry, to the practices that preceded the opioid crisis.
“You know, 15 years ago when we look at the opioid crisis this is what we were seeing. This kind of doctor shopping, drug-seeking behavior,” said Roach.
He’s sponsoring a bill that would restrict the THC levels in medical marijuana products to 10 percent for whole flower and 60 percent for other products while also limiting patients to 15,000 milligrams of THC every 35 days.
“We have not only a responsibility to act now, but an opportunity to act before it’s too late,” said Roach.
Some states like New Jersey have set THC prescription limits lower than the one being proposed in Florida, while other states like Hawaii have limits three times as high.
Marijuana activists question the need for the the restrictions.
“No one has ever died from cannabis. This is a safe, effective medicine and when it is used under the medical marijuana program we’re making sure that the doses are pure and precise,” said Jodi James with the Florida Cannabis Action Network.
But Roach said state data shows some doctors have been, in his opinion, far too liberal with their prescriptions.
“I mean we’re talking about 10 million milligrams over a 70-day period. That’s about 780 bottles of 24-count Aspirin,” said Roach.
The bill was passed through its first committee with a party-line vote, but at least two Republicans expressed serious concerns with the THC caps, saying it sounded too close to lawmakers playing doctor.
Cannabis researcher Dr. Sasha Noe agrees and says the dosing decisions should be left to medical professionals.
“The physicians are using the best science we have and our clinical knowledge for patients to be able to help them,” said Dr. Noe.
But Roach said he’s yet to see any research confirming medical benefits of high THC marijuana.
“And if someone watching or listening has such a study, I’m happy to review that,” said Roach.
Last year, similar legislation failed to gain traction in the Senate. While it has been filed there this session, it’s yet to be slated for a hearing.