Second medical marijuana law workshop scheduled in Tallahassee for Aug. 1

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A second workshop on Florida’s new medical marijuana law is scheduled for Aug. 1 in Tallahassee. Linda McMullen, director of the state’s Office of Compassionate Use, expects a draft rule to be ready for release by the end of this week.

The Department of Health is developing a regulatory structure for a Charlotte’s Web law signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott in June. The measure allows doctors to authorize the use of a cannabis extract to treat certain patients.

More than 200 people attended the department’s first workshop earlier this month and many critiqued a 16-page draft rule as unworkable. Growers, health-care experts and investors raised questions about the licensing of growers and dispensaries and other issues such as the quality of the product and zoning.

Starting in January doctors will be allowed to order for patients a strain of marijuana high in a cannabadiol that supporters say helps manage pain and seizures. The measure approved by the Legislature allows five growing and distribution centers.  Growers have to have been in operation for at least 30 years and capable of growing at least 400,000 plants. The State Department of Agriculture says 46 nurseries qualify for a license.

The department proposal to use a lottery to award the five licenses was roundly criticized during the first workshop. Paige Figi, whose efforts to get a cannabis extract to treat her daughter Charlotte led to Colorado’s medicinal marijuana law, said a lottery for a license to distribute a medical product was “not appropriate.”

The Aug. 1 rules workshop will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Betty Easley Conference Center in Tallahassee.