State officials in Florida prepping for Charlotte’s Web rollout
Voters won’t decide until November on whether to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. But this week, the state rolled out a plan for the marijuana industry – at least on a form of the drug that has already been approved. Gov. Rick Scott recently signed a bill approving a strain of marijuana known as Charlotte’s Web. The new law allows children suffering epilepsy and various forms of cancer to use a form of marijuana that is low in euphorics and high in cannabis. It has been proven to decrease symptoms in children.
Florida physicians who have been authorized to order this strain of medical marijuana can start writing prescriptions Jan. 1. It will be sold through dispensaries licensed by the state Department of Health. Officials anticipate that medical marijuana licenses will be highly sought in Florida. The state is working to approve five licenses (one in each of the five statewide regions) that will likely be selected through a lottery. Pot growers will be required to use nurseries that have operated in Florida for the past three decades. And those nurseries will need to produce at least 400,000 plants. The chosen dispensaries would have 30 days to pay a $150,000 license fee and post a performance bond of $5 million. According to the Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services, there are 41 nurseries right now in Florida that likely could qualify for a license. If more than one grower from each region applies for licensing, a lottery will be used to select the winner. A workshop has been scheduled for Monday in Tallahassee to discuss Charlotte’s Web.
The new law stands alone from the push for medical marijuana that will be on the ballot in November. That ballot item, if passed by voters, would allow medical marijuana use statewide for patients with a prescription. Scott has said that he personally opposes legalizing medical marijuana and that ballot initiative.