Florida legislature waits until final day to pass a flurry of bills

Medical marijuana for sick children approved

TAMPA - The biggest surprise of this year's Florida legislative session might be the passage of a law legalizing Charlotte's Web, a specific strain of non-intoxicating marijuana found to be effective in the treatment of epilepsy in children.

This means the state will designate growers and license dispensaries, but it falls short of the broader legalization of medical marijuana voters will decide on in November. Gov. Rick Scott is contradicting the opinion of his own surgeon general by pledging to sign the bill into law.

A gun bill called "insane" by at least one Bay area sheriff has been scrapped, marking a rare defeat for the National Rifle Association, which backed it. Senate Bill 296 would have allowed you to conceal your weapon during emergencies like riots and evacuations without having a concealed weapon permit.

Florida will join 21 other states by letting undocumented, immigrant high school graduates to pay lower, in-state college tuition. It's expected to help some 1,300 students each year avoid the much higher out-of-state tuition. Scott has said he'll sign it, which will disappoint many of his Tea Party supporters.

In one of the most talked about issues of the session, a bill that would allow craft brewers to sell beer in 64-ounce bottles called growlers but would also limit the amount of beer some of them could sell on premises appears to be dead.

Local bay area brewers were warning they might be put out of business by those limits. The owner of Cigar City Brewery in Tampa even threatened to leave the state if the bill backed by big distributors became law. Beer lovers may be celebrating the bill's defeat tonight.

The biggest item is the $77.1 billion dollars state budget. Lawmakers are expected to vote on that at about 8:35 Friday night.

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