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Florida Awards 5 Nurseries to Grow Cannabis

Medical Marijuana in Florida is one step closer to becoming a reality. The state’s health department approved five nurseries to grow and distribute the medicinal plants.

The state passed a law in 2014 that would allow the use of marijuana extracts that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabidiol, or CBD. The law was intended to treat patients with intractable epilepsy and people with advanced cancer.

To qualify for the low-THC-based cannabis treatment, patients must obtain permission from a qualified doctor and be added to the Compassionate Use Registry. A doctor’s approval will be needed to access the state’s medical marijuana program.

State Rep. Katie Edwards, the sponsor of the state’s medicinal cannabis bill, praised the announcement after numerous delays. “At last, families seeking the relief only this drug can offer are a step closer to help,” said Edwards. “It’s a shame that more than 15 months after the legislature took this important step, the bureaucracy is catching up.”

 The medical marijuana will be sold at retail outlets owned and operated by the state-selected growers for patients who suffer from intractable forms of epilepsy or other neurological disorders that cause seizures or tremors.

“The approved organizations have 10 business days to post a $5 million performance bond,” the Florida Department of Health said in a press release.. “If an approved applicant fails to post the performance bond within the required timeframe, the applicant with the next highest score in the dispensing region will be selected and notified.”

“Approved dispensing organizations must request cultivation authority within 75 days of being notified of their selection and begin cultivation within 210 days of receiving cultivation authority.”

Some of the nursey selections drew complaints from others who weren’t selected, “Today’s award of licenses will raise serious questions about improper influence and self-dealing,” charged Taylor Patrick Biehl, a lobbyist for the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida whose consulting firm represented three of the losing applicants.

The health department listed the Florida nurseries who won the bids:

  • Costa Nursery Farms in Southeast Florida
  • Alpha Foliage in Southwest Florida
  • Chestnut Hill Tree Farm in Northeast Florida
  • Hackney Nursery in Northwest Florida
  • Knox Nursery in Central Florida

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