Florida medical marijuana deal unlikely to allow smokable flower

Florida lawmakers are working out a compromise to implement a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana, and any deal is unlikely to allow smokable MMJ as a form of treatment.

Smokable medical cannabis would help attract patients to the program and in turn bolster revenue for the state’s MMJ industry.

But Sen. Rob Bradley, an MMJ proponent and bill sponsor, told The News Service of Florida smokable flower is off the table.

“There is agreement between the…

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Canadian marijuana grower strikes deal to enter U.S. market

Aphria – one of Canada’s largest medical marijuana producers – kicked off a U.S. expansion plan with an investment of 25 million Canadian dollars ($18.63 million) that will lead to the purchase of a licensed CBD business in Florida.

When the complex deal is done, Aphria will have established a foothold in Florida with the goal of eventually extending its reach to other medical marijuana markets in the United States, according to a news release.

Aphria plans to put the CA$25 million into private holding company…

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Industry officials encouraged as Florida’s medical cannabis law takes shape

By Omar Sacirbey

After months of uncertainty, Florida’s new medical marijuana program is starting to come together and industry officials believe the number of MMJ business licenses will be expanded beyond the seven companies currently licensed under the state’s CBD-focused program.

MMJ industry advocates said they are encouraged with legislation that state lawmakers have begun to hammer out to implement last November’s voter-approved medical cannabis referendum.

That wasn’t necessarily the…

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Florida medical cannabis bills make for hazy business climate

Medical marijuana isn’t shaping up to be the big business opportunity in Florida many cannabis executives were hoping for.

Although medical marijuana was approved overwhelmingly by Florida voters in November, the shape of the MMJ industry is still very much in question. And state lawmakers don’t appear to be moving toward any kind of solution.


Spring 2017 MJBizCon
A whopping six bills are competing in the Florida Legislature, the Sun Sentinel reported, and each would set up a regulatory framework for…

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High-end cannabis pipe maker sues to defend trademark

Roor, one of the best-known names in cannabis smoking utensils, has filed almost 200 lawsuits since 2013 to protect its trademark against smoke shop and convenience store owners in California, Florida and New York for allegedly selling counterfeit products bearing the company’s name.

The German company and its American licensee, Sream of Corona, California, hold U.S. Trademark No. 3675839 to protect its fashionable pipes and bongs sold with the Roor mark – the company’s name with the second “r” capitalized and facing backward,…

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Week in Review: Florida’s restrictive plan, slow returns in NH & Pennsylvania app processs

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By Bart Schaneman, Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

Florida’s draft medical marijuana rules would bar new entrants, New Hampshire dispensaries have a ways to go before breaking even, and Pennsylvania releases MMJ business applications.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Work in progress

Entrepreneurs angling to capitalize on Florida’s new MMJ program may be out of luck – if state health regulators have their way. MMJ advocates, however, are confident this week’s draft…

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Proposed Florida MMJ rules would prevent new entrants

Maybe there won’t be many business opportunities in Florida’s new medical cannabis industry after all.

State health officials have proposed rules that would give the seven companies currently licensed under Florida’s CBD-focused program entire control of the larger medical marijuana market.

The draft regulations would, in effect, close off the state’s MMJ industry to new growers and dispensary operators hoping to capitalize on the passage of a bill last November legalizing full-strength medical cannabis for a broad swath…

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FL regulator gives patients, doctors OK to buy medical cannabis

A top Florida cannabis regulator said people who qualify for medical marijuana can begin buying the drug within 90 days, months before the state even implements rules governing the new MMJ program.


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The timing of the start of MMJ sales – and whether they could occur before the rollout of the medical cannabis regulations – has been a source of confusion among doctors, patients and businesses, CBS Miami reported.

Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in November to establish a full-fledged medical cannabis program allowing…

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Florida awards seventh CBD license

Florida will award a business permit under its CBD-focused program to a company that challenged the state’s initial licensing decisions after barely losing out to a competitor.

The development moves Florida closer to settling more than a dozen administrative challenges lodged by companies that didn’t win one of five licenses to grow and sell CBD-based medicine as part of a law passed in 2014.

It also could help alleviate some supply concerns as the state transitions to a new full-strength medical marijuana program.


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Florida’s health…

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New Market: Florida’s big MMJ program could be limited by lack of licenses

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This is the fourth article in a series looking at the potential cannabis market in each of the eight states that approved recreational or medical marijuana initiatives in the 2016 election. Check back each week through mid-January for new entries. Click here for previous installments.

By Bart Schaneman

Florida’s new medical marijuana market is poised to become one of the largest in the nation, yet a limited number of available MMJ business licenses could hinder the program’s growth.

Seventy-one percent of Florida voters last month…

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Cannabis research gets almost $20 million in funding

Proponents of scientific research in the cannabis industry got encouraging news with recent announcements that two major universities received nearly $20 million in donations for marijuana-related studies.


Marijuana Business License Directory
The University of Miami’s Project to Cure Paralysis and Miller School of Medicine received a $16 million grant from Scythian Bioscience in October to research whether a CBD-based pill can help reduce brain cell inflammation that occurs after injuries such as concussions, the Miami Herald reported.

Scythian BioSciences is a private…

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Florida medical marijuana industry rollout likely to be slow

Even though medical marijuana passed by a historic margin in Florida last month, that doesn’t mean state legislators are going to rush to implement the new law. Rather, it will likely be the opposite, with lawmakers dragging their feet.

A whopping six million voters supported legalizing MMJ at the ballot box, but establishing industry regulations and licensing cannabis businesses “is not a top priority for the newly elected leaders of the legislature,” the Tampa Bay Times reported Friday.


Marijuana Business License Directory
The legislative session does not begin until…

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Week in Review: 5 business takeaways from the landmark election

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By Omar Sacirbey and Bart Schaneman

Now that voters in seven additional states have legalized recreational or medical marijuana, business leaders and political observers are bullish about the potential for industry growth.

They point to greater opportunities through interstate expansion, increased investor interest in cannabis and greater innovation in technology and business strategies.

“People should feel good about these victories and the opportunities that legalization brings,” said Kris Krane, managing partner of 4Front Advisors, a…

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Election Updates: Live coverage of marijuana measures across the country

2016 cannabis elections

Marijuana Business Daily is providing live updates on cannabis ballot measures and related news (all updates in Eastern time).

2:30 a.m. Wednesday (Arizona, Maine, Montana): Three states with marijuana initiatives still hang in the balance, with Arizona’s rec measure on the ropes, Montana’s initiative well ahead and Maine’s adult-use measure a coin flip.

Here are the latest results from those three states:

Arizona: 48% “Yes,” with 82% of the votes reported

Montana: 56% “Yes,” with 63% of the votes reported

Maine: 50.5% “Yes,”…

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Helix TCS becomes largest single shareholder in MJ software firm

Colorado-based Helix TCS, which has been expanding its holdings in the marijuana trade, announced Monday it has become the largest shareholder in Florida-based BioTrackTHC, a longtime manufacturer and supplier of seed-to-sale cannabis tracking software.

Specific terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Helix and its capital partner, Rose Capital Advisors of Miami Beach, agreed to purchase the shares from BioTrackTHC founders Steven Siegel and Brian McClintock for a combination of cash and stock, making Helix and Rose the largest BioTrackTHC…

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Marijuana firms across nation fund pro-MMJ bid in Florida

Out-of-state-donors, including some prominent marijuana businesses, have pumped money into the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, underscoring the high-stakes fight in that state.

Of the three states – Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota – that could legalize medical marijuana on Tuesday, Florida is by far the largest market and offers out-of-state cannabis businesses potentially lucrative opportunities.

Denver-based social media company MassRoots, Denver edibles firm Allied Concessions Group and Washington State-based…

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Florida NORML sues, saying MMJ legalization left off some ballots

The Florida chapter of NORML said it is suing a county elections commissioner after Amendment 2, a state ballot initiative to broaden Florida’s medical marijuana program, was found to be missing from some ballots.

The scope of the problem is unknown, but the suspect ballots were distributed in Broward County – one of Florida’s largest counties – the Sun Sentinel reported.


Conference Deadline Approaching
NORML wants a judge to order the county to stop distributing any additional ballots until the problem is resolved. The group also wants an “emergency plan”…

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MMJ polling at 77% in Florida, union endorses Nevada rec

The news continues to improve for pro-cannabis state campaigns in advance of Election Day in November.

In Florida, 77% of state voters say they plan to support the medical marijuana legalization initiative Amendment 2, according to a new poll from the University of North Florida. The study found that only 18% of voters are opposed to the measure, WPBF News reported.


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The Florida MMJ amendment, unlike the eight other pro-marijuana initiatives on state ballots around the country, needs at least 60% of the vote in November to become law.

In…

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Cash Flowing Into Pro-, Anti-Legalization Campaigns

Ballot measures to legalize recreational marijuana in Arizona and medical marijuana in Florida, which voters will consider Nov. 8, are spurring opponents and proponents to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, which opposes recreational legalization, has collected slightly more than $2 million but has spent less than one third of that and still has $1.4 million in its

Cash Flowing Into Pro-, Anti-Legalization Campaigns is a post from: Marijuana Business Daily: Financial, Legal & Cannabusiness…

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Week In Review: MassRoots’ Woes, GW Pharma’s Good News & Pro-Legalization Polls

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By Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

MassRoots lands in financial hot water, GW Pharmaceuticals takes a step closer to winning U.S. approval for its marijuana-based drug, and a political veteran urges caution heading into the elections.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

MassRoots in Hot Water?

That’s the assessment of Nic Easley, the CEO of Denver’s 3C Consulting. He looked closely at the company’s situation following news that the cannabis-themed social network failed to…

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FL Poll Shows Support Rising for Medical Cannabis Measure

A new poll in Florida shows growing support for a medical marijuana ballot measure that the state’s voters will consider on Nov. 8.

According to a September survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute in Saint Leo, Florida, 68.8% of likely voters supported Amendment 2, as the medical cannabis measure is known, up from 65.1% in June.


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“It appears as though medical marijuana supporters will get the victory they were denied by voters in 2014,” Frank Orlando, director of the polling institute and a political science instructor at…

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Florida CBD Industry Inching Along, Eyeing November

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By Omar Sacirbey

Florida’s fledgling CBD market just launched but is proceeding at a snail’s pace, with the handful of licensed businesses hoping voters will approve a full-fledged medical marijuana program this fall.

For now, the current crop of CBD operators are hedging their bets on expanding their businesses ahead of the Nov. 8 election. 

“People are gearing up to pull the trigger on expansion plans after the November vote,” Jeff Sharkey, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, said. But, he…

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Major Marijuana-Related Campaign Donations Late in Campaign

Proponents and opponents of cannabis legalization are gearing up for the final stretch of the 2016 political campaign, and for both camps that means some big last-minute donations.

In Florida, casino mogul Sheldon Adelson – who funded most of the anti-medical marijuana ads two years ago – has jumped back into the fray with a $1 million donation to Drug Free Florida, the Sunshine State News reported. Adelson, who is reportedly worth more than $30 billion, gave $5.5 million to fight MMJ legalization in 2014 in Florida. But Adelson so far…

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Judge Recommends 7th CBD License in Florida

A Florida administrative law judge has rebuked the state’s department of health and is recommending that the agency issue a seventh medical CBD production license to an applicant that wasn’t awarded a permit last year.

Judge John Van Laningham found that one of the five license winners from last year, Alpha Foliage, didn’t meet the legal criteria outlined in Florida law and therefore shouldn’t have received a permit, Orlando Weekly reported.

MJBizCrashCourseIf Gov. Rick Scott’s administration doesn’t dispute Van Laningham’s recommendation, then…

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FL Billionaire Heiress Donates $800k to MMJ Legalization Foe

Florida billionaire Carol Jenkins Barnett, who is heir to the supermarket chain Publix, is reportedly behind an $800,000 donation to Drug Free Florida, an organization that is fighting against medical marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State.

The Jenkins Barnett Family Trust made the donation on July 14, the Miami New Times reported this week.

Barnett is worth $1.8 billion herself and owns 5% of Publix as the chain’s largest shareholder. She also gave half a million to Drug Free Florida two years ago, when MMJ legalization failed…

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Week in Review: Florida CBD, Cannabis Legal Battles & Ominous Clouds in AZ, MA

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By John Schroyer and Omar Sacirbey

Florida’s long-awaited CBD industry approaches the launchpad, cannabis lawsuits make headlines, and recent polling numbers cast a dark cloud over recreational marijuana legalization in two states.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Florida, Finally

First to seed doesn’t necessarily mean first to sell.

Consider Florida, where in February Surterra Therapeutics in the southwestern part of the state became the first approved licensee to receive…

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First Florida CBD Dispensary Ready for Launch

Florida’s first dispensary plans to open Tuesday, roughly two years after the state legalized CBD-based medicine.

The distinction of being the first business in the state to legally sell CBD products goes to Trulieve in North Florida, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Not far behind is Alpha/Surterra, a company with offices in Tampa and Tallahassee that had its first harvest last week. The company plans to start dispensing later this summer, the Times reported.

Besides Truelieve and Surterra, another four nurseries are growing and…

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Florida Nursery Still Fighting for License + First CBD Harvest

Florida’s haphazard CBD industry is technically up and running now that its first-ever harvest has taken place, but in the meantime a legal battle remains underway over a potential new licensee that wants the right to grow cannabis.

The harvest, completed at a facility run by Surterra Therapeutics, is the first of many to come from the six currently licensed companies allowed to produce CBD in the state, the Associated Press reported. Surterra and its colleagues are all poised to expand rapidly if Amendment 2, a pro-medical marijuana…

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Week in Review: Banking Scare, Marijuana Ballot Roundup & Water Rules in California

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By Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

An Illinois bank sparks fresh concerns about cannabis and financial institutions, the number of states with certified pro-marijuana ballot measures hits an all-time high, and California MJ growers face new water-use rules.

Here’s a closer look at some notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Banking Scare?

Don’t panic! Just keep good track of your business.

That’s the message a prominent Illinois attorney and former regulatory czar is telling cannabis business and banking leaders…

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A $10M Fight in the Sunshine State: Q&A With John Morgan on Florida MMJ Legalization

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By John Schroyer

John Morgan has been, by his own description, a “one-man band” for medical marijuana in Florida over the past four years, having bankrolled two separate campaigns to legalize MMJ in the state.

The first, in 2014, fell just short of the 60% threshold it needed at the ballot box to become law.

At least part of that was due to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson, who put several million dollars of his own money into fighting MMJ legalization in Florida.

This time around, Morgan and…

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Florida Anti-Medical Marijuana Effort Vows to Raise $10M

A Florida campaign with ties to casino mogul Sheldon Adelson – who helped defeat a 2014 medical cannabis initiative in the Sunshine State – plans to raise at least $10 million to fight MMJ legalization this fall, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Florida real estate executive Mel Semble is spearheading this year’s drive to kill a legalization ballot initiative. Sembler, founder of Drug Free America, helped raise roughly $7.5 million to oppose the 2014 measure, roughly $5 million of…

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Florida Lawmakers Vote to Expand CBD Law

Florida lawmakers have given a final thumbs-up to a bill that would expand the state’s limited CBD program and create a handful of new business opportunities.

If Gov. Rick Scott signs the new bill into law, qualified patients could use full-strength MMJ instead of only low-THC marijuana, as the 2014 CBD law permits.

The measure would also allow the state to authorize three more dispensing organizations once the registered patient count hits 250,000.

But it’s still a very limited program,…

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Polls: Majority Support for Cannabis in FL, NH, Canada

A recent trio of polls suggest that attitudes towards cannabis reform continue to spread, with support for marijuana legalization evident in Florida, New Hampshire and Canada.

In Florida, 65% of voters said they will vote for one of the two medical marijuana legalization efforts being pushed in the state, compared to 28% who are against such measures, according to Public Policy Polling. A referendum in that state needs 60% of the vote to be adopted. According to the study, MMJ legalization…

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FL Lawmakers May Allow MMJ For Terminal Patients

Florida lawmakers have revived a bill to expand the state’s CBD industry by allowing terminally ill patients to use full-strength medical cannabis, which would provide a boost for licensed businesses.

The state’s current law, passed in 2014, permits only allows high-CBD, low-THC marijuana oils, artificially limiting the market. The proposed new law, revived this week, would allow Florida’s five licensed producers to sell higher-THC medicine to patients with less than a year to live.

The…

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Florida Nurseries Sue to Stop CBD Production

Three companies have filed suit to prevent Florida’s CBD program from moving forward until ongoing legal issues over the licensing process are resolved.

The lawsuit was filed by San Felasco Nurseries, 3 Boys Farm Company and McCrory’s Sunny Hill Nursery, according to the Orlando Sentinel. None of the three were among the five license winners announced last November – but one of them is part of a separate lawsuit challenging the state on its decision-making process for awarding…

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Medical Cannabis Back on Florida Ballot for 2016

John Morgan is a man of his word.

After a narrow defeat in the 2014 election, Morgan, a millionaire Orlando attorney who almost single-handedly bankrolled the Florida MMJ campaign, vowed that the issue would return this year if the legislature didn’t legalize medical cannabis. And on Wednesday, the state Division of Elections announced that Morgan’s group had collected enough signatures to make the ballot again.

United for Care, Morgan’s campaign, turned in over 1 million signatures in…

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Florida Poll Finds Strong Support for Broader MMJ Law

Good news in Florida: A new – albeit unscientific – poll indicates that locals are largely in favor of expanding the state’s extremely limited CBD law into a broader medical cannabis program.

The poll, conducted by the Orlando Business Journal, asked respondents if they would support or reject an amendment that broadens the current program, which only allows low-THC, high-CBD medicine.

Of the 473 responses, 91.5% said “I will vote for broadening medical marijuana use,” while 8.5%…

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Florida, Massachusetts MJ Initiatives Move Closer to Ballot

A pair of cannabis reform initiatives each got one big step closer to being on their states’ respective ballots for 2016 this week, in both Florida and Massachusetts.

United for Care, the Florida campaign that nearly succeeded in legalizing medical marijuana in 2014, got its 2016 ballot measure cleared by the state Supreme Court on Thursday. But the state still has to validate roughly 280,000 more signatures to make sure the initiative qualifies, according to the Miami Herald. The campaign…

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Week in Review: CBD Setback in Florida, Progress for Marijuana Research & Cannabis Stock Slump?

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By Omar Sacirbey and John Schroyer

Legal challenges threaten to further delay Florida’s CBD program, a new institute in the Czech Republic promises to spur medical cannabis research, and a federal interest rate hike could impact marijuana stocks.

Here’s a closer look at several notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Frustration in Florida

A deluge of new legal challenges will almost certainly postpone the launch of Florida’s CBD program, which has been held…

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13 Legal Challenges Filed Over Florida CBD Licenses

The five winners of licenses to produce CBD medicine in Florida may not be settled after all.

On Friday, three of the 24 applicants for the five licenses filed legal complaints challenging the state Department of Health’s decisions in the licensing process. Included in one challenge was an accusation of nepotism, since four of the five nurseries selected for licenses had principals “who served on a rule-making committee,” according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Then on Monday, 10…

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Week in Review: Florida CBD Licenses, Alaska Marijuana Regulations & California’s Black Market

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By John Schroyer

Florida announces CBD license winners as the state considers major changes to the program, Alaska debates recreational cannabis regulations, and California medical cannabis growers voice concerns over new rules.

Here’s a closer look at several notable developments in the marijuana industry over the past week.

Florida Licensing

Florida this week revealed the five nurseries it’s chosen to produce low-THC, high-CBD medicine for a select group of medical patients in the…

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Florida Announces Winners of CBD Licenses

At long last, Florida’s health department has announced the names of nurseries that will receive cultivation and dispensary licenses as part of its CBD program.

The five companies are dispersed geographically across the state to ensure there will be CBD producers in each region of Florida.

The winners include Chestnut Hill Tree Farm in the northeast region of the state, Costa Nursery Farms in the southeast region, Knox Nursery in the central region, Hackney Nursery Company in the…

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Florida’s Emerging CBD Industry May Be Poised for Sizable Shift

Floridamarijuana

By Omar Sacirbey

Big changes could be on the horizon for Florida’s emerging – and oft-delayed – CBD industry.

Two new medical marijuana bills that made rumblings this week in the state’s legislature could supplant the much-criticized CBD law passed by legislators in 2014. If successful, the bills promise to create a much larger potential patient pool, boost the number of MMJ business licenses the state will award and even potentially open the door for more minorities to get involved…

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Florida Legislature Tackles MMJ Legalization, Again

For the third time in two years, the Florida Legislature will take up the hotly contested issue of medical marijuana, in an attempt to broaden its current system.

On Monday, state Sen. Jeff Brandes filed a new medical marijuana bill that would license cultivation, processing, and retail facilities, and expand the conditions that qualify patients for MMJ.

Today, Florida’s Senate Health Policy Committee will consider a proposal to add medical marijuana to an existing state law, “Right to…

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