Medical marijuana no “boon” for Florida agriculture, says Adam Putnam

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Florida might be close to approving medical marijuana, but pot will not replace citrus as the state crop, nor will it growing in fields statewide, says Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in an interview with the South Florida SunSentinel on Wednesday.

“There won’t be fields of marijuana growing in Florida,” Putnam told the SunSentinel editorial board in a video conversation, with segments appearing on the newspaper’s website.

“It will be grown under roof,” Putnam said, “in controlled environments, inside, for obvious security reasons.”

A bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott’s signature (SB 1030) would make available to patients a variety of marijuana high in cannabidiol (CBD) but low in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance that produces euphoria.

In addition, voters could approve a constitutional amendment in November to legalize medical marijuana. Putnam says he is opposed to the amendment, but he anticipates the measure will receive the 60 percent of votes necessary for approval.

Nevertheless, medical marijuana will not become “a boon for Florida agriculture,” he said.

The low-THC bill passed by the Legislature, allows the Department of Health to choose five nurseries – equally spread around the state and in Central Florida – permitted to grow, manufacture and sell the marijuana extract.

Nurseries must be registered, have operated in the state for at least 30 years and possess the capability to produce more than 400,000 plants.

 

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.