Judge Rejects Lottery For Medical Marijuana Growers; Orders Health Department To Write New Rules | Tampa Bay Times

Judge W. David Watkins of the Florida Division of Administrative Hearings, rejected the idea of a controversial lottery to pick the nurseries that would grow the plants, a decision that could impact when the marijuana oil will be available to patients. Watkins stated in his order that after reviewing chemical and safety issues and testimony from growers, “I knew that the lottery became strictly a chance-based scenario and it wasn’t merit-based or experience-based. And to me, I had to object to it.” The state legislature, in its last session, legalized Charlotte’s Web, which is low in THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and high in CBD (cannabidiol) for patients with seizures, severe and persistent muscle spasms and cancer. The “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014,” requires the health department to have rules in effect by Jan. 1, 2015. The department has estimated that about 125,000 children with intractable epilepsy could be eligible for the drug, and it could also be used by adults. Families lobbied hard to persuade reluctant legislators to open the door to limited use. Costas Farms, Plants of Ruskin, Three Boys Farm and the Florida Medical Cannabis Association argued that the Department of Health exceeded its authority by proposing a lottery to award five licenses to cultivate, process and dispense a medicinal cannabis product and in widening the pool of applicants beyond the criteria specified by lawmakers. Representatives of these groups and hujndreds of others spoke about the rules during public hearings this summer. “Unfortunately 5 months of rule making have ‘gone up in smoke,” ” said Taylor Patrick Biehl, legislative programs director for the Capitol Alliance Group.
To read more visit http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/judge-orders-health-department-to-redraw-medical-marijuana-rules/2206556

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