TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Wading into the debate about medical marijuana, three Republican senators Wednesday filed a bill that would legalize a marijuana extract that supporters say can help children with a form of epilepsy.

The bill (SB 1030), filed by Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, and Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, is similar to a House proposal (HB 843) that has drawn widespread attention.

It also comes as voters prepare to cast ballots in November on a much-broader proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize medical marijuana.

The Senate and House bills focus on a substance known as “Charlotte’s Web,” which has a relatively small amount of tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Supporters say the low level of THC in Charlotte’s Web means users do not get high. “Charlotte’s Web helps patients improve their quality of life and offers hope to parents desperate to provide relief to their children,” Bradley said in a prepared statement. “While many Floridians have significant concerns about medical marijuana being misused, SB 1030 offers a new opportunity for Floridians who have not found relief with current medications.”

Bean also tried to draw a distinction with types of medical marijuana that get people high. “This is completely different from what the public knows about marijuana,” Bean said. “I’m excited about the possibility of ending seizures in medically challenged kids.”

“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”


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