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Health officials hash out new medical cannabis rules


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Patients, doctors and growers are urging the Florida Department of Health to set new rules for the use of non-euphoric medical marijuana as soon as possible. Photo: Creative Commons.

Photo: Creative Commons.

Safety, quality, and cost are priorities for Florida health officials as they create new rules for non-euphoric medical marijuana.

The department held a public hearing in Orlando today after a judge rejected its initial rules for the program.

Patients and doctors urged the committee to require research about what kinds of cannabis to grow.

Gary Hernden, a grower in central and south Florida, said regulating who and where to grow the plant is just as important.

“Florida has a unique opportunity to be the first state to actually produce a consistent cannabidiol product. It’s going to be a burden on a grower, but you know, if you don’t want to take on the burden, you shouldn’t get in the game,” he said to the four-member panel of Florida health officials.

Anthony Artizone, also a grower, has attended every hearing since July and is frustrated with the pace of decision making.

“The idea of getting this done quickly has always been on my mind, but it seems like we just can’t get there.”

Seth Himan’s 9-year-old daughter Rebecca has seizures at least twice a week. He, like Artizone, wants officials to create a set of rules as soon as possible.

“For all of these months and the lawsuit and the judges and the fighting going on over who’s going to grab the license and who has the potential, the patients are suffering. Every single day, their lives are at risk,” he said at the hearing.

The passage of the Charlotte’s Web bill last summer was supposed to put rules in place by January 1st for a strain of non-euphoric medical marijuana

The Florida Department of Health now plans to have new rules before the legislative session in March. ​


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About Renata Sago

Renata Sago

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