On Friday afternoon, the Florida Senate filed a proposal whose aim is to put a limit on the amount of THC available in medical marijuana products. The potency cap would be at 10%.
THC is the psychoactive compound found in marijuana. It induces the high effect. THC can be found in all forms of marijuana ranging from whole-flower, tinctures, oils, vaporizers, and edibles.
The amendment was filed by Senator Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) and it was part of a larger health care package. The bill’s last stop is the Senate Rules Committee, and it will take up the amendment early this week.
The current law in Florida places a cap on the amount of THC in marijuana edibles only. The edibles should contain no more than 10mg of THC per serving and an overall of 200mg. According to industry experts, the current doses in edibles are higher than what most patients would consume in a normal situation.
The amendments cap on THC at 10% applies to people who are under 21years, excluding those who are terminally ill and those whose doctors recommend for medicine with a high THC concentration.
Harrell said that she is worried that young people have access to marijuana products with high THC concentration, and it could negatively affect brain development.
Limiting the amount of THC in medical marijuana was first introduced during the 2019 legislative sessions, where a House Bill that would have put a 10% cap on smokable medical marijuana or flower was proposed. The legislation would have barred doctors from certifying patients below the age of 18 for full-strength marijuana products.
The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) quoted a study which indicated that marijuana containing high levels of THC was associated with early onset of psychosis and the development of schizophrenia in marijuana consumers.
Rodrigues cited a Swedish study, which was based on patients who self-reported their history of marijuana consumption and had also experienced at least one psychotic episode in their life.
The bill never advanced in the House despite the support from the Speaker Rep. Jose Oliva (R-Miami Lakes).
Last week, Senator Jeff Brandes held a press conference where he urged the House not to support a THC cap. He noted that the Senate would put a hold on the issue. Brandes expressed his disappointment on Friday, when he said that the Senate should focus on solving real problems.
Speaking to Herald Times, Brandes said that physicians understand the legislation better as well as the needs of their patients; therefore, they should be allowed to weigh in on the benefits and risks for their patients.
Harrell and Brandes have different views on the issue of the THC cap. The Senate President Bill Galvano indicated that he was open to considering the THC cap.
Those who are opposed to the amendment said that if it is approved, it will be a burden on medical marijuana prices because the prices for the products will be hiked, and this would eventually force patients to buy from the illicit market to self-medicate with higher THC marijuana products.
Colorado had raised the THC limit to 16% in 2016 via a referendum but later withdrew the proposal.
It would be interesting to hear how sector players like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V: HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) would weigh in on this debate regarding THC caps on medical marijuana products in light of the black market which still commands a huge share of total marijuana sales.
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