Local News

Growers have many questions on medical marijuana

At the Tallahassee workshop, the top complaint was concerns about a proposed lottery system to award five organizations the chance to grow, manufacture and dispense a type of medical marijuana.

The Department of Health released a proposed rule June 2 outlining that the new regulated industry would use a lottery to select single dispensing organizations in regions where more than one application was submitted.

The state needs “way more than five” dispensaries, and the nursery locations are “very inconvenient for the patient populations,” said Kerry Herndon, owner of Apopka-based Kerry’s Nursery.

The state has a total of 41 growers, in five regions, that could potentially grow medical.

Delray Plants and Wards Nursery, Avon Park, are among six potential growers in the southwest region.

Windmill Farms and Sunshine Foliage near Zolfo Springs are among the 17 potential growers in the central region.

If just one grower in a region is selected by a lottery, the four growers in the northwest (panhandle) region and two growers in the northeast region have much better odds of being selected compared to the other three regions. The southeast region has 13 potential growers.

Under the law, eligible growers are limited to nurseries that have been doing business in Florida for at least 30 years and are producing at least 400,000 plants.

Department of Health spokesman Nathan Dunn told reporters after Monday’s meeting that the agency would consider revising the rule to do away with the lottery and that the agency has fast-tracked regulations regarding the law, signed by Gov. Rick Scott just three weeks ago.

Florida’s new law makes legal certain strains of marijuana that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD. The combination is purported to eliminate or dramatically reduce life-threatening seizures in children with severe epilepsy. The law also allows patients who suffer from severe muscle spasms or cancer to be put on a “compassionate use registry” for the low-THC product as long as their doctors approve.


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The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.