Charlotte's Web

More than two years after lawmakers legalized a limited type of medical marijuana, an administrative law judge heard arguments Wednesday in a dispute about whether a Northeast Florida nursery should receive one of the highly sought-after licenses to grow, process and distribute the non-euphoric pot.


Twenty three states, plus the District of Columbia and Guam, have some form of law allowing patients to use medical marijuana. Florida is among those states, but so far, patients have not been able to access the drug.

Whether Medicaid expansion will ever come to Florida is far from certain.  But after more than a year in the works, one health fight finally appears settled.

Florida officials are predicting that a strain of low-potency marijuana should finally be available for medical purposes later this year.

Legislators in 2014 voted to legalize a strain of marijuana known as Charlotte's Web to treat epilepsy and cancer patients.

But there have been disputes over rules drawn up by the Department of Health to implement the law.

An administrative law judge on Wednesday threw out the latest challenge to those rules.

Associated Press

 A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday shows 84 percent of Floridians support medical marijuana.

But will it be enough to get a revised constitutional amendment passed? Orlando trial attorney and outspoken advocate for medical marijuana John Morgan talks with WMFE's Brendan Byrne on Intersection to talk more about the initiative, and what he learned after a failed attempt in 2014.

Marijuana Rule Hit with Two More Challenges

Mar 29, 2015

A Central Florida nursery and a trade association this week filed legal challenges to a state Department of Health proposal to carry out a new law allowing limited types of medical marijuana.

This comes as lawmakers have expressed impatience with the delays in carrying out the 2014 law allowing the types of medical marijuana. It spurred the Senate Regulated Industries Committee this week to approve a bill (SB 7066) aimed at jump-starting the process.

With another challenge of the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rules filed, state lawmakers are trying to untangle the mess that has become of last year’s so-called Charlotte’s Web law.  The Senate Regulated Industries committee took up the matter Tuesday.

Mothers and fathers of children with intractable epilepsy made impassioned pleas Monday at the Department of Health’s medical marijuana rulemaking workshop.  Both parents and Department officials hope this meeting will be the last.

Florida is getting closer to allowing doctors to prescribe medical marijuana.

But first, rules for how to grow the non-euphoric strain of the drug have to be hashed out — and that’s what a committee will be discussing over the next two days in Tallahassee.

The Florida Department of Health will have to pick the best five growers for medical marijuana in Florida, but they won’t be using a lottery to pick. A judge threw out the state’s original plan after Winter Park’s Medical Cannabis Association filed suit.

The House committee overseeing Florida’s rules and regulations will likely have to give their blessing before a low-THC marijuana framework can be put in place.  But some lawmakers don’t think it will be a stumbling block.

Charlotte's Web Rule Debate Continues

Jan 2, 2015

Safety, quality, and cost are priorities for Florida health officials as they create new rules for medical marijuana that doesn’t get the user high.

The Florida Department of Health held a public hearing in Orlando Tuesday after a judge rejected its initial rules for the so-called Charlotte’s Web program. Patients and doctors urged the committee to require research about what kinds of cannabis to grow.

And growers like Gary Hernden said regulating who and where to grow the plant is as important.

It’s back to the drawing board for the Florida Department of Health and its attempt to create rules for its non-euphoric medical-marijuana law, the News Service of Florida reports. Last month, an administrative law struck down the proposed rules for the drug known as Charlotte’s Web. So, DOH will hold a Dec. 30 workshop in Orlando to restart the rules drafting process, the News Service reports.

  Next year, patients across Florida suffering from extreme seizures and a handful of other symptoms should be able to get their hands on low-THC marijuana, but exactly when next year is unclear.  An administrative court scrapped much of the proposed distribution framework last week.  That leaves stakeholders with hope for a better system, and certainty of a longer wait.

Opponents of the Department of Health’s proposed rules for distributing low-THC marijuana began a legal challenge this week.  Implementing the new “Compassionate Use of Marijuana” law has been a rocky, contentious ride that doesn’t appear to be easing.

The Florida Department of Health’s plan for the new “low-THC” medical marijuana industry is likely to be delayed as it deviates too much from what lawmakers intended, the News Service of Florida reports. The DOH’s Office of Compassionate Use was assigned to set up regulations for the industry and has held multiple public hearings. But, as the News Service reports, the proposed framework has been criticized by the Legislature's Joint Administrative Procedures Committee.

The rules setting up Florida’s medical marijuana industry are being picked apart by a legislative panel, the News Service of Florida reports. The Joint Administrative Procedures Committee told Department of Health leaders that many of the rules it suggests violate the law approved by the Legislature this past spring, the News Service reports.

Moms Rally to Legalize Medical Marijuana - For Their Kids

Aug 22, 2014

In June, the state legislature legalized an oil form marijuana called Charlotte’s Web for medicinal use.

It doesn’t have a lot of THC - the substance that gets a user “high,” but it is supposed to have certain medicinal benefits.

A new organization of moms, though, say that’s not enough. They are rallying to get Amendment 2 passed in November. It would legalize a broader spectrum of medicinal marijuana.

The medical-cannabis bill awaiting Gov. Rick Scott's signature has sparked many hopes and fears. But most of them are unwarranted, writes public-health retiree and consumer activist Gary Stein. 

His column, published in ContextFlorida, notes that the Legislature wrote a very narrow bill to allow prescriptions of "Charlotte's Webb," an oil extract that has little of the chemical that produces euphoria but is high in one that eases pain and seizures.

Horticulturists across Florida are wondering if the state’s approval of a strain of medical marijuana can translate into new business, the Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau reports.

Gov. Rick Scott says he will sign the “Charlotte’s Web” bill into law, allowing a handful of growers to produce the liquid form of cannabis that is linked to the controlling of seizures of some children.

The 2014 Florida Legislature passed a number of bills relating to health care, most of them modest in scope. 

But at least one that passed will probably save lives: the Child Welfare Act, which in part responds to the deaths of 477 children who were supposed to be under the protection of the Department of Children and Families.

The DCF overhaul had already begun before the session, but was intensified after the Miami Herald published the series Innocents Lost.

Florida Department of Health

Surgeon General John Armstrong may not like the idea of the state giving out medical marijuana, but it looks as though he’s stuck with it. (UPDATE: The Senate passed the House bill as-is around 12:30 p.m. Friday)

The House, Senate and governor have reached agreement to make a cannabis extract available to cancer and seizure patients through a tightly-regulated state-run program. And they have placed responsibility for developing that program squarely in Armstrong’s hands at the state Department of Health.

Cannabis Bill Clears Senate

Apr 28, 2014
Tom Benitez/MCT /Landov

An extract from a strain of low-THC marijuana would be legal for medical use to treat epileptic children under a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate on Monday. Now it goes to the House.

The Senate voted 36-3 to pass the legislation, which supporters said could help sick children who have no other hope. It now goes to the House for consideration.

“This is the last resort for some folks, for their children,” said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa. “We have a responsibility to do what we can to alleviate the suffering and pain of children.”

Florida’s debate about legalizing a strain of medical marijuana for children has brought notoriety for affected families, and not all of it is positive.