Publisher’s Note: Some of the healthcare legislation recently passed

Like any other year, the 2014 Florida Legislative Session saw a lot of action for health and safety-related bills.  Some of them passed with flying colors, while others failed—but, just in case you aren’t aware—I’d like to summarize three important pieces of legislation that are being made into law:

SB 1030

During the legislative session, a bill was passed that will allow physicians to prescribe medical marijuana to registered patients for treatment of chronic seizures, muscle spasms, and cancer.  After nearly two hours of inquisitions and debates, lawmakers voted 111-7.  It should also be noted that a particular kind of strain—low-THC marijuana—is what’s being made legal for this type of medical use.  THC is the known chemical that makes users feel high, and while most marijuana on average has approximately 15 percent THC (as reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse), the approved strain can have no more than 0.8 percent.

HB 225 / SB 518

Effective in January 2015, child safety laws in motor vehicles will change.  A bill was passed during the Legislative Session that says children ages four and five will need to ride in a booster seat.  Before the bill was passed, any child over the age of three was not required to ride in a car seat.  There is one exception to this new law, however: Children who are four or five years old may ride in a vehicle with only a regular seat belt restraint if the driver is not a member of their immediate family and is giving the child a ride as a favor or in an emergency.

SB 224

This particular bill won unanimous support from in the Florida House, which will ban electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) from being sold to minors.  Furthermore, the bill allows local communities to enact stronger policies or keep ordinances restricting sales.  Electronic cigarettes do not contain tobacco, however, critics of the technology say that they can be just as potentially harmful as traditional cigarettes when considering the chemicals in the nicotine.

Nelson Kirkland, Publisher

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