After a long process of selection, finally, there were five nurseries chosen to grow marijuana in Florida. For the Southeast Region of the state the winner was Costa Nursery Farms, for the Southwest it was Alpha Foliage of Homestead, for the Central Region the grower will be Knox Nursery of Winter, in the Northwest it will be Hackney Nursery Co. and for the Northeast, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm.
This decision comes after the 2014 law that allows the growth of medical marijuana, with a low concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the substance responsible for the “high” effect in the plant and a high concentration of cannabidiol (CBD) – the substance that ameliorates or even stops pain and seizures in some conditions.
The law stipulates that only the nurseries that have been in business on the area of the state for at least 30 years and were growing over 400,000 plants when they applied for the license were eligible to compete for getting the license.
The next step for the winners is to post $5 million bond of performance and then request authorization for cultivation in the next 75 days and, after being authorized they have 210 days to start cultivating the plants. The losers have 21 days for contesting the decision.
Patients will have to get an approval from special registered doctors before being able to purchase the medical marijuana. Nurseries will sell their products through their dispensing facilities of by home delivery.
Medical marijuana is legal in other 23 states, in Canada and also in several countries from Europe, like the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Austria, Finland, and Czech Republic. Marijuana helps alleviating seizures in conditions like epilepsy or eases the pain for cancer patients but it has also been prescribed for other chronic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, arthritis or AIDS. About 20,000 patients suffering of chronic conditions could benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana in Florida.
The lobbyists, teamed with the nurseries, are now trying to broaden the list of medical conditions for which low –THC cannabis or “Charlotte’s Web”, as it has been named, could be prescribed, arguing that the investment in growing the plants is huge while the base of patients is relatively small. A measure like this could also allow growers to cultivate plants with a higher concentration of THC.
However, smoking the pot and recreational use will still be illegal in Florida so the nurseries will produce cannabis oil that will be sold to their clients as an end product.
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