List of potential marijuana growers in Florida swells to 39

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There are now 39 nurseries in Florida that could be qualified to grow medical marijuana, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer services.

The first list identified 21 growers with two key requirements allowing them to bid for one of the five cannabis licenses issued under SB 1030, provided Gov. Rick Scott signs the bill.

After a review of records, the department found 18 additional candidates statewide, writes Scott Powers of the Orlando Sentinel.

Ten nurseries in Central Florida could be both big enough and old enough for consideration as candidates for the potentially profitable license, where the winning bidders will have a near monopoly in each of the five regions permitted to sell the marijuana extract known as “Charlotte’s Web.”

The law limits cannabis cultivation only to plants with a very low THC level — THC is the chemical producing euphoria — and high in CBD levels, which many believe have therapeutic effects on particular cancerous tumors and provides relief for seizure and tremor disorders like epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.

The law will also restrict business to nurseries registered with the Department of Agriculture; they must have a minimum of 400,000 plants for sale, and have operated in Florida continuously for at least 30 years.

However, since the digital records of the department only go back 26 years, the preliminary list was incomplete, Powers writes.

Other requirements include business finances, background checks and procedures for growing and processing. The Florida Department of Health will review them all, when a company decides to apply for a license.

Even with the addition of 18 nurseries, the list of 39 is only a fraction of the 7,001 registered nurseries statewide. A few of them, joined by many non-nursery operators, argue the law is so narrowly restricted for those wanting to enter the medical marijuana business.

Even before Scott signs the bill passed only two weeks ago by the Legislature, there was already talk of bringing legal challenges from potential growers not on the list.

 

 

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.