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Florida's Medical Marijuana Implementation Continues To Vex Lawmakers

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Florida lawmakers continue to be frustrated with the state Department of Health over its slow implementation of medical marijuana rules. 

The Department’s Office of Compassionate Use has been slammed with nearly two dozen lawsuits, half which continue to be litigated. But speaking to reporters after a Wednesday budget review committee, Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park,  says the department is getting better.

“I think the department is moving at a quicker pace than perhaps they have in the past," he said. "We just want this done. And I stand by the decision we made to tie pay to performance. I think that’s what happens in the private sector and that’s an appropriate response to our frustration.”

Florida lawmakers began allowing Medical Marijuana for certain conditions in 2014 under state law.

A 2016 constitutional amendment expanded eligibility to more people. But the Department of Health has struggled to put in place governing rules for the industry, and it’s faced lawsuits over licensing from providers and companies. Lawmakers suspended employee pay earlier in the year as a sign of their frustration with the process.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.
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