Two new studies published by the journal JAMA Internal Medicine link legal marijuana with fewer opioid prescriptions. (Thinkstock / Getty Images)

Florida Senate proposes increase in number of medical marijuana licenses

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Senate’s version of a bill to implement the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment has passed its first committee.

The bill (SB 406) passed the Health Quality Committee on Tuesday. It must go through two more committees before reaching the Senate floor.

Sen. Rob Bradley’s bill includes parts of four other bills that were considered by the committee during a workshop two years ago. The biggest addition is it grants five new licenses — including one to minority farmers — by October, plus four additional for every 75,000 patients registered. Previous license additions didn’t start until 125,000 patients. There are currently seven licensed distributing organizations.

It also requires comprehensive tracking, from seed to sale, and part-year residents a pathway to obtaining cannabis.

Under Amendment 2, the state must have implementing laws in place by July.