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Charlotte’s Web Still Tangled

November 18th, 2014 by flanews

Florida took a small step in utilizing medical marijuana during 2014’s legislative session, but as Matt Galka tells us, the law that allows the use of marijuana extract “Charlotte’s Web” is still a tangled mess.

There was elation from families with children suffering from severe seizures when the Florida legislature passed the Charlotte’s Web bill in May.  The low-THC medical marijuana doesn’t get users high.

Here we are in November and no rules are in place.  It means no medicine can be ordered, and bill sponsor Matt Gaetz is frustrated.

“I’m always frustrated when the wheels of government don’t turn fast enough to get needed medicine to vulnerable Floridians, but it’s important here to measure twice and cut once,” said Rep. Gaetz (R-Shalimar).

The Department of Health has held multiple hearings to try and craft rules to regulate the medicine.  An administrative judge tossed the proposals out last week.

The hope was that the medicine would be available for doctor’s to order starting January 1st, but with every day that goes by, that date is more and more in doubt.

There will be five distributing licenses up for grabs.  A lottery system was originally in place for dozens of growers but that’s gone now. Ron Watson with the Florida Medical Cannabis Association says that’s a good thing.

“I think we all agree that we want this medicine to the children as quickly as possible, but we would also like to make sure that it’s done right. So we look forward to working with the Department of Health as they continue to change this rule as we move forward,” said Watson.

The Department of Health says its considering all options to get the drug on the market quickly.  No one seems to have an answer to the biggest question of when that might be. The Governor signed the bill into law in June.  More than 125,000 people in Florida, including epilepsy and cancer patients, could benefit from Charlotte’s Web.

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