Delay in Florida’s Non-Euphoric Medical Marijuana Program

By Rebecca McCurry 10/07/2014

The final plan for Florida’s non-euphoric medical marijuana program is currently on hold for another 60-days due to filed challenges from potential growers of the medicine. Since Florida’s rules are so lax on which applicants are best-suited for the strain known as “Charlotte’s Web,” with very little rules to choose between the applicants, they feel as though it “turns the selection into a lottery.”

Earlier in September 2014, the Department of Health issued their proposed final rules on who would be able to qualify for the five state licenses, grow, sell, and process “Charlotte’s Web,” but their rules were not specific enough for potential growers. Coasta Farms and Plants of Ruskin, Inc. filed the challenges that will now delay the program. Plants of Ruskin’s argued that the proposal failed to “establish even minimum criteria to evaluate (a license) applicant’s financial, technical, and technological ability to security cultivate and produce low-THC cannabis.”

Revisions put out by the department addressed some concerns that the legislature and the public had about Charlotte’s Web, but it failed to address the rest of the concerns that many still have. “The main change clears up ownership rules for who can apply to be a dispenser.” It also explains that any applicants that want to apply to become one of the state’s give state-issued licenses would have 15-days to apply. The changes also talk about how the lottery system will be used to determine the give dispensaries for the state, which is something that the Florida Medical Cannabis Association is unsure about.

The qualifying conditions in Florida include cancer, muscle spasms, and seizures. “State qualified patients may possess cannabis strains containing ten percent or more of CBD and no more than eight-tenths of one percent of THC.” Patients are not allowed to cultivate their own medication; there will be up to five facilities to dispense high-CBD strains to state qualified patients.

As a result of the filed challenges, Florida cannot enact the rules, and they also cannot start seeking licensing applications until ruling from the judge that can take up to 60-days.


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