Florida Senator wants more medical marijuana growers


A powerful state Senator has introduced legislation expanding the number of medical growers and dispensaries in Florida. The proposal also makes it easier for patients to get treatment.

The legislation allows as many as 20 new grow and dispensary licenses. The number increases as the number of patients grows. Jeff Sharkey of the Medical Marijuana Business Association calls the legislation a big first step to doing what voters asked.

“It expands the competition, which I think is good for patients, It’ll make the product more accessible and hopefully more affordable," Jeff Sharkey Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

Only a few hundred doctors have gone through the required training course. The legislation would cut the training from eight to four hours.

“The pipeline for getting doctors to be eligible to recommend medical cannabis has been slow inc coming, maybe four hundred doctors on the list now," said Jeff Sharkey.

Gone in the legislation is the requirement that doctors see a patient for at least 90 days before they can receive marijuana treatments.

The legislation is in sharp contrast to rules proposed by the Department of Health earlier this week. Amendment 2 author Ben Pollera calls those rules restrictive.

“They’re basically just ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment in every step pf the way, Ben Pollera with United for Florida

Under current law, licensee’s grow, distribute and dispense medical marijuana at retail. but lobbyists like Ron Watson will be working to allow more competition at the retail level.

“A larger distribution of different types of plants is going to be what’s best for the actual patients of Florida," Ron Watson with AltMed.

While only a few thousand patients are currently registered, the number is expected to grow to over half a million.

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