State rules for medical marijuana revealed Wednesday


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The growers that Florida’s Office of Compassionate Use selected to dispense medical marijuana got their first look at state rules Wednesday. But instead of discussion between the growers and the state, there was mostly silence.

Five growers around the state were officially selected to grow Florida's first form of medical marijuana in late November. The companies had until 5 p.m. Wednesday to post a $5 million performance bond. The Department of Health said four had posted the money by Wednesday afternoon.

The draft rules include dispensing requirements, hygiene and odor control, and security.

"Now that we’ve given out the five approved dispensing licenses, moving forward, we now have to ensure that they will continue to operate in a safe and law-abiding manner," said Christian Bax, of the Office of Compassionate Use.

After looking at the rules, stakeholders in Florida’s capital said there weren’t many surprises

"This is very in line with the application, so at Seterra, we feel very comfortable that we can provide safe, natural, helpful products to the patients of Florida," said Susan Driscoll, managing director of Alpha Foliage, one of the five companies selected by the state.

Jeff Sharkey and Taylor Biehl, with the Florida Medical Marijuana Business Association, said that the state is still in a three-week period where there could be legal challenges.

"That 21 days ends Monday," Sharkey said. "So we could certainly see some challenges."

Growers and the state are still hoping that the medicine could be available by next summer.