Medical Marijuana Research Funding Vetoed By Gov. Rick Scott

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On Monday, Florida Gov. Rick Scott vetoed $409 million in state projects, of which “three line items” would have generated millions for marijuana research at the University of Florida and the Moffitt Cancer Center.

Scott’s untimely veto rejects the will of the voters and strips the allocated funds from studying the medicinal plant. Classified as a Schedule I narcotic within the Controlled Substance Act, marijuana has long been labeled a “dangerous drug under federal law.” And, thanks to that farcical classification, DEA-approved research into the cannabis plant has been nearly nonexistent.

Eager to gain a greater understanding of the medicinal benefits and potential risks associated with medical marijuana, State Sen. Bill Galvano encouraged his fellow politicians to challenge the accepted norms. According to Florida’s News 4 Jax, Sen. Galvano was interested in learning more about “the real effects” of medicinal cannabis and what the potential downsides may be.

Florida’s legislators accepted Galvano’s challenge, responding with a budget that allocated $1 million to the Moffitt Cancer Center and $2 million to the University of Florida. Unfortunately, that critical funding never made it past the governor’s desk.

When vetoing the funding, Gov. Scott explained the University of Florida and Moffitt Cancer Center have plenty of cash to fund their own medical marijuana research.

“Gov. Scott also vetoed $370,000 tied to the Moffitt Cancer Center because lawmakers didn’t pass a bill setting up regulations for medical marijuana. Unless lawmakers act, the Department of Health will decide how to regulate medical cannabis.”

Legislators in the Sunshine State will creep back to the Capitol on Wednesday to begin their three-day special session. First taking on economic development and educational funding, the topic of medical marijuana isn’t currently on their scheduled agenda.

Photo courtesy of Allison Beckett.