Number of eligible medical marijuana nurseries growing

Legislature set strict requirements, including 30 years of continuous operation


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A proposed constitutional amendment allowing broader medical marijuana use in Florida will be on the ballot this November. Early polls show passage is likely.

Florida set strict parameters for growing low-grade medical marijuana.

Some eligible farms see it as a potential economic boost, and the department of agriculture said the number of eligible nurseries will grow.

May Nursery started as a tobacco farm in 1971. It now grows ornament flowers.

Co-Owner Fred May said he never thought he'd be thinking about growing marijuana.

"It's not going to be cheap, but it's a doable thing," May said.

May Nursery meets the 30-year continuous operation and inventory requirements set by the legislature. Possibly growing cannabis that could help seizure victims isn't out of the question for the Mays.

"We're going to need to partner up with some type of pharmaceutical company to really learn how to do this," May said.

The Department of Agriculture originally named 21 growers who met the criteria. That number increased to 39 because Ag digital records only went back 26 years.

The department said the number will grow larger when nurseries in year 29 hit the 30-year mark.

"We're not looking to create a new marijuana agricultural industry in the state of Florida," said Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Orange Park. "We're looking to use existing Florida businesses."

Some lawmakers said 30 years was too restrictive, but May thinks experience is necessary, especially for an unknown crop.

"A lot remains to be seen, it's a gamble, for us and for everybody," May said.

If the bill is signed, only five nurseries will be licensed.