TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – At a daylong, standing-room-only rule hearing on Monday, Florida regulators began the process of making a low-grade strain of marijuana available early next year to seriously ill patients.
When all is said and done, just five nurseries in Florida will grow, harvest and distribute the first strain of a non-euphoric medical marijuana, known as Charlotte's Web.
Grower after grower told a panel of health officials on Monday they wanted a license to grow marijuana to produce the oil-based cure.
Ray Davis of Tampa was one of the growers making his pitch.
"I am not knowledgeable about growing marijuana," Davis said. "I intend to be."
Under current law, marijuana is illegal to grow or bring into the state. By the recently passed Charlotte's Web law, the first licenses to produce medical marijuana must be issued by the end of the year.
Nearly four dozen nurseries in the state, including the Loop's Nursery & Greenhouses, Inc., on Old Middleburg Road in Jacksonville, meet the requirements to qualify for those licenses.
But until the first licenses are issued, no growing can take place.
Holly Mosley and Paige Figi could be considered the mothers of low-grade marijuana in Florida.
Paige Figi is a Colorado mom who was at her wits end as her daughter, Charlotte, suffered one seizure after another with no cure in sight, until she helped create Charlotte's Web.
"Her seizures were instantly abated," Paige Figi said. "So here 300-a-week seizures were down to zero her first week after her first dose."
While Charlotte's seizures have almost ended, Holly Mosley's daughter, Ray Ann, is still suffering. Mosley helped convince Florida lawmakers to make the low-grade CBD available for seriously ill Floridians.
"Ray Ann is sick, and we are desperate, and we just...we know there is hope," Mosley said. "You know something is working in Colorado, and we just want it here so badly for her."
The suffering could soon end.