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Sunday, August 14, 2022

Medical marijuana licenses available in FL

At one point, RayAnn Moseley took four different medicines to help her intractable epilepsy, but the seizures didn’t stop.

When the 12-year-old’s mother, Holley Moseley, saw the CNN documentary “Weed,” she and her husband took RayAnn to Colorado, where medical marijuana is legal.

“We’ve tried everything that modern medicine has to offer,” the 35-year-old said.

The Moseleys considered moving to Colorado so RayAnn, who also suffers from cerebral palsy, could find relief.

But now, after fighting for Florida’s Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 (SB 1030), they won’t have to.

The Florida Department of Health will award licenses to five nurseries in the state to grow low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana.

Applications for growing medical marijuana will be accepted from qualifying nurseries until July 8, according to the Department of Health’s website.  

For an application, nurseries pay a nonrefundable fee of $60,063.                   

Grandiflora nursery in Gainesville is filling out its application, which the department will evaluate based on financial strength and plan for growing, extracting and distributing the medical marijuana plants, said its owner and president, Alan Shapiro.

The license would make Grandiflora nursery one of five legal medical-marijuana growers in Florida.

After the recession, Shapiro said nurseries were hurt, but he’s hopeful medical marijuana will be profitable.

“It’s certainly up our alley to grow plants,” he said.

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Since Rick Scott signed the bill into law a year ago, the Department of Health has been responsible for creating rules and regulations about the plant. They were unable to move forward with distributing applications to eligible nurseries until the end of May, when Judge David Watkins ruled against a plant nursery that opposed how the department would be awarding licenses.  

According to the health department’s website, nurseries will be able to grow plants with a THC level of 0.8 percent or less. This ensures users won’t get high. The CBD level has to be above 10 percent, which will allow it to combat seizures. The law covers the medicine in pill form.  

This form of medical marijuana is particularly important because it benefits children, said Brandon Harvey, president of UF’s National Organizations for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“That just makes it an easy sell for politicians to pass a bill,” the 21-year-old UF neuroscience senior said.

Moseley said she doesn’t want people to lose sight of the bill’s purpose, which isn’t helping the economy.

“It’s about helping improve kids’ quality of life,” she said.

[A version of this story ran on page 1 on 6/18/15]


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