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Medical Weed “Charlotte’s Web” Coming to Florida

Medical Weed "Charlotte’s Web" Coming to Florida

Author: Justin Mckibben

Awhile I wrote about a strain of marijuana that is high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC getting a huge rally of support behind it in the state of Florida, and I wrote about the 11-year-old Panhandle girl named RayAnn Moseley who became the poster child for the campaign supporting it.

Moseley suffers from a rare form of epilepsy and cerebral palsy, and one day was accompanied by her mother to help sway the hearts of uncertain lawmakers in the State Senate, which resulted in a resounding 36-3 vote to pass the plan for the institution of Medical Marijuana in Florida.

Then in the November 2014 Midterms the Florida voters rejected medical marijuana, but a state judge has cleared the way for the non-euphoric strain of the drug to be accessible for medical purposes by the end of the year.

The Big News

This surprising action comes after there was much speculation concerning medical marijuana not reaching the Florida House of Representatives before they had cut short legislative sessions three days ahead of schedule. At the time it appeared no more would be done with medical marijuana in the state until 2016.

Tallahassee Judge W. David Watkins dismissed the final challenge to the rule developed by the Florida Department of Health last Wednesday. Republican Representative Matt Gaetz led the charge for the legislation introduced last year, which called for access to the “Charlotte’s Web” strain of low-THC marijuana for all those suffering from:

  • Epileptic seizures
  • Cancer
  • Other specified ailments

The legislation was already approved in the before mentioned vote in last year, but has faced a series of legal challenges between then and now.

Raymond Hogshead and Heather Zabinofsky, owners of Baywood Nurseries of Apopka, were the latest to challenge the rule on the grounds that the language in it was unfair and vague, but apparently that isn’t stopping it from getting the stamp of approval.

What the Ruling Means

Last November during the midterms nearly 57% of voters had cast ballots for a ‘yes’ on the issue of medicinal use of cannabis in the state. However because Amendment 2 would have required an amendment in Florida’s state constitution, it would have required at least 60% of the vote to pass, and so was shot down.

Millions of dollars have been spent over time on both sides of the argument to promote their opinions, with pro-medical marijuana group United for Care spending over $4 million and Drug Free Florida spending $6.34 million on their campaign. If you look at those numbers it seems a bit excessive financially.

Regardless it is now official, and eligible growers can start sending applications to the Florida Department of Health within the next 3 weeks. It may still be a handful of months before growers are permitted to sell the strain, and they must sell to patients who are on the state’s “compassionate use registry.”

Only about 100 nurseries will be able to legally grow Charlotte’s Web marijuana, and the new law only grants licenses to nurseries that have operated in Florida for a minimum of 30 years and currently grow at least 400,000 plants. These organizations will also have to demonstrate they have the financial means to stay in business for at least two years and cover the expensive start-up costs. So not just any mom and pop can open up a new weed shop in the Sunshine State and start pumping out Charlotte’s Web, there are still some firm restrictions.

So for now there is some level of legalized medical cannabis in the Florida, but it is only a certain strain and only allowed to be grown and supplied by very specific guidelines. So pro-pot supporters can breathe easy with this progress in the name of helping children suffering, and hopefully the legislation and regulation will evolve from a place of stability.

For everyone who worries about the recovery community, you can breathe easy too, because again this strain is suggested to lack the chemical composition that causes the high people get from smoking marijuana.

So now some people will be presented with the question, if I am in recovery is it OK for me to use it if it doesn’t have THC? I guess that is a question you have to work over yourself and maybe through a sponsor, but in my opinion it would be the same as drinking non-alcoholic beer- I can make excuses about the taste and the smell, but if I’m not feeling the high then I’m only tempting myself for nothing.

Sure, some might feel it doesn’t count, and maybe it doesn’t, but does the action reset my mind into my using habits? Does it start to convince me that using is OK? Ultimately for me, what is the point? When I used I used for a feeling, and since I don’t need that feeling anymore, I don’t need an excuse to use. So I’ll be skipping the Charlotte’s Web, and supporting those children who truly need an effective medication.

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