State lawmakers may leave Tallahassee without passing legislation regulating medical marijuana.
Split over a few key issues to implement the voter-approved Amendment 2, House negotiators were losing confidence that they could find agreement with the Senate by an end-of-day deadline Friday.
"It's 50/50," key House negotiator and Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, R-Estero, said around noon. "It really could go either way."
The main sticking point: The Senate wants to cap the number of storefront dispensaries that each medical marijuana business can open at five with an additional one allowed every time 75,000 new patients register in Florida. The House, meanwhile, wants no caps.
On Thursday night, the Senate passed newly released language that Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Fleming Island, said is mostly in line with what the House will take. Except for the dispensary caps.
"If this doesn't work out, this'll be the reason," Bradley said.
The House won't take the new Senate language, Rodrigues said. However, backroom negotiations continue.
If they don't reach an agreement, the Department of Health -- which has been waiting for additional direction from the Legislature -- would have until July 3 to write rules.
More likely, the issue would end up in the courts.