Bill to Legalize "Charlotte's Web" Marijuana Filed by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


Bill to Legalize "Charlotte's Web" Marijuana Filed by Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz

The strain of marijuana known as "Charlotte's Web" is closer to becoming legal in Florida, after House Criminal Justice Chairman Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach filed a measure to make it so.

Last month, state representatives held a legislative hearing on getting Charlotte's Web legalized.

The CW extract is known for not giving someone who takes it the usual buzz one gets from pot. Proponents say that it reduces seizures in children with a rare form of epilepsy.

See also: Legislature Holds Hearing on Charlotte's Web, Medical Marijuana With No High

Gaetz, a Republican, and Broward Rep. Katie Edwards, a Democrat, have been pushing for the measure (AKA HB 843), which would legalize all forms of cannabis that contain 0.5 percent or less of tetrahydrocannabinol -- the stuff that gets you high -- and more than 15 percent of cannabidiol.

The proposal would also make it legal to manufacture the compound.

Charlotte's Web already has very low amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol.

The 2013 CNN documentary Weed introduced the world to Charlotte Figi, the then-5-year old girl whose epileptic seizures were radically reduced after she was given her first dose of medical marijuana by her parents.

The strain is named after her.

The federal Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve CW. Yet supporters say that the strain of weed not only reduces seizures in children but in adults diagnosed with a form of epilepsy as well.

Charlotte's Web has succeeded, proponents say, where other treatments have failed.

While this measure is separate from when the Florida Supreme Court approved to have a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana on the ballot in November, it's basically the same thing.

Medical marijuana measures have come up in one form or another in Florida. And getting Charlotte's Web legalized is really no different.

"When a patient comes into your office and tells you all the meds that they're taking don't work, don't relieve their suffering, but marijuana does," Florida state Sen. Jeff Clemens told New Times, "it's hard to look at that person in the eye and not do something about it."

Last year, Clemens introduced a bill that would allow patients with certain qualifying medical conditions to privately and legally possess medical marijuana.

"This is about helping people," Clemens said. "It's about compassion."

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