Burned out? Florida's chief medical marijuana regulator resigns

Christian Bax steps down three years after taking top OMMU job


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Christian Bax, director of Florida's Office of Medical Marijuana Use, is resigning after three years in charge of the agency that regulates the state's medical marijuana industry.

Deputy Director Courtney Coppola will take over on an interim basis for Bax, whose departure becomes official on Aug. 10, Department of Health spokesperson Devin Galetta confirmed Friday.

It's unclear why Bax is stepping down. His resignation letter provides no explanation for the sudden shake-up, only saying in part:

"It has been a humbling experience to work with a team of people at the Office of Medical Marijuana Use that have expend so much of themselves in taking on such a challenging and important task."

What is clear is Bax has faced growing criticism and scrutiny since taking the job in July 2015, from lawsuits over patients’ access to medical cannabis to questions about his work experience.

The state has been burning through cash defending the OMMU in recent years. As POLITICO reported, the contract awarded to one law firm representing the agency mushroomed from $275,000 in August 2015 to $1,275,000 by February 2017.

Bax has come under fire over his job qualifications, particularly after a scathing report by Miami’s WPLG-TV that raised questions about whether he padded his resume when he first applied to the job, for which he was the sole applicant. 

About the Author: