Charlotte's Web law still tangled


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida took a small step in utilizing medical marijuana during 2014's legislative session, but the law that allows the use of marijuana extract "Charlotte's Web" is still a tangled mess.

More than 125,000 people in Florida, including epilepsy and cancer patients, could benefit from Charlotte's Web.

Families with children suffering from severe seizures were elated when the Florida legislature passed the Charlotte's Web bill in May. The low-THC medical marijuana doesn't get users high.

The Governor signed the bill into law in June.

But nearly half a year later, no rules are in place, so no medicine can be ordered. And bill sponsor Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar, is frustrated.

"The Department of Health has held multiple hearings to try and craft rules to regulate the medicine," Gaetz said. "An administrative judge tossed the proposals out last week."

The hope was that the medicine would be available for doctor's to order starting Jan. 1, but with every day that goes by, that date is more and more in doubt.

There will be five distributing licenses up for grabs.  A lottery system was originally in place for dozens of growers but that's gone now. Ron Watson with the Florida Medical Cannabis Association said that's a good thing.

"I think we all agree that we want this medicine to the children as quickly as possible, but we would also like to make sure that it's done right," Watson said. "So we look forward to working with the Department of Health as they continue to change this rule as we move forward."

The Department of Health said it's considering all options to get the drug on the market quickly.  No one seems to have an answer to the biggest question of when that might be.