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Medical Marijuana Market Taking Shape


As Florida lawmakers contemplate revisiting the medical marijuana issue in a special legislative session and revive a failed effort to establish regulatory guidelines for the voter-approved industry, a system for accessing the treatment already is taking shape.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported that a number of growers — licensed under an earlier program that authorized low-potency marijuana for seizure patients — already are harvesting and distributing full-strength batches of the drug, dispensaries are popping up across the state, home delivery is in full swing and patients are receiving treatments.

“We do have a functioning program,” said Compassionate Cannabis Clinic Executive Director Patrick DeLuca, adding: “Every day we’re hearing from patients who are getting their medicine and the response we’re hearing from patients is incredible.”

But there are concerns about how the system is working, from the limited number of companies licensed to participate to the fact that patients can’t buy smokeable forms of marijuana. Any consensus bill adopted by the Legislature almost certainly won’t allow smoking and likely won’t significantly overhaul the licensing system.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.