Florida’s medical marijuana industry is growing, before it even really starts. Effective January 1, 2015, physicians will be able to prescribe low-THC cannabis for patients suffering from cancer or a chronic condition that produces symptoms of seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms. On June 16, 2014, Florida Governor Rick Scott signed SB 1030 (Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014) into law, making it legal for qualified Florida patients to take low-THC cannabis. Click here to read SB 1030.
While state health officials sort out many lingering details, physicians and dispensaries alike are speculating and preparing about Florida’s medical marijuana industry.
Betting on Green.
Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 allows one medical marijuana dispensing organization in each of the state’s five regions. Health officials support the process of choosing nurseries by using a lottery. To qualify, dispensaries must have done business in Florida for at least 30 years and must grow at least 400,000 plants. According to Reuters, at least 55 nurseries meet these criteria.
The conquest of becoming a nursery in Florida is getting competitive. GrowHealthy LLC, an Atlanta-based company, hopes to become the biggest medical marijuana factory in the country. According to Reuters, GrowHealthy already paid $2.1 million for a 33-acre property in Lake Wales, Florida. The company partners with several plant nurseries in the state which are eligible to apply for a growing license in the upcoming Florida lottery.
Basically GrowHealthy put down millions of dollars for the possibility of growing medical marijuana in the Sunshine State. According to GrowHealthy’s CEO, until they presumably get a medical marijuana license from the state, the company will grow vegetables in the warehouse. Click here to read the entire article from Reuters.
If GrowHealthly does win a coveted spot in the lottery, the company hopes that its plans for large-scale production could allow medical marijuana patients to get it for a cheaper price. For reference, a holder of a doctor-prescribed red card in Colorado can buy an ounce of medical marijuana for around $200.
Planting Roots in Florida.
The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 is just the first step for Florida. A broader medical marijuana law, Amendment 2, will appear on Florida’s November ballot. If passed, Amendment 2 will legalize the growing, purchasing, possession and use of marijuana to treat medical conditions.
In a recent survey published in the Orlando Sentinel, 88 percent of Floridian voters overwhelmingly support the constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana.
Keep on Trucking.
If the legislation in November passes, not only could Florida patients have easier access to medical marijuana, but it could also be delivered directly to door steps.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, under a revised rule proposed by health regulators, Florida medical marijuana dispensers could truck their products right to patients. The new draft rule would allow dispensing organizations to deliver 30-day supplies of medical cannabis, statewide. Click here to read the entire article from the Orlando Sentinel.
There is still a lot to be figured out when it comes to growing and prescribing medical marijuana. The Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use will meet on September 5, 2014, to discuss proposed administrative code rules implementing Chapters 2014-157 and 2014-158, Laws of Florida, acts relating to cannabis and public records. Be sure to check this blog regularly for updates from this meeting.
What are your thoughts on the dispensary lottery system? Do you think five nurseries will be able to meet the demands of Florida patients? Do you think the Amendment 2 will pass in November? Why or why not? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical Marijuana Concerns.
The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.
To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 or (850) 439-1001 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.
Liston, Barbara. “Florida Firm Plans Big, Low Cost, Medical Marijuana Grow Operation.” Reuters. (August 28, 2014). From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/27/us-usa-marijuana-florida-idUSKBN0GR28H20140827
Kam, Dara. “Medical-pot Growers Could Truck Product to Patients, New Rules Says.” Orlando Sentinel. (July 30, 2014). From: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2014-07-30/business/os-florida-marijuana-rules-20140730_1_health-officials-patients-nursery-owners
About the Author: Christopher E. Brown, J.D., is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. http://www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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