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Health Officials Tap Five Nurseries To Grow Marijuana

Brett Levin via Flickr

It’s been 525 days of public testimony, legal wrangling, and perhaps worst—waiting, but the Department of Health Monday decided on which five nurseries will supply the raw materials for low-THC marijuana treatments.  But the licensees could raise eyebrows and the wait could be far from over.

The five nurseries awarded marijuana cultivation licenses are Hackney Nurseries, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, Costa Farms, Knox Nursery, and Alpha Foliage.  Notably, the Department of Health invited all but Alpha to participate in a negotiated rulemaking session early this year—in a very real sense, allowing them to write the rules for the contest.  The Department’s decision may be challenged in an administrative court. 

The winning farms have to post a five million dollar performance bond within 10 days and they have to be ready to begin growing in 75.  But families waiting on treatment may have to keep waiting—the Department directs farms that treatments must be ready 210 days after authorization, potentially pushing the date for getting the drug to September 3, 2016.  This places the deadline right in the heart of an election season where medical marijuana could be front of mind for Florida’s voters.

Nick Evans came to Tallahassee to pursue a masters in communications at Florida State University. He graduated in 2014, but not before picking up an internship at WFSU. While he worked on his degree Nick moved from intern, to part-timer, to full-time reporter. Before moving to Tallahassee, Nick lived in and around the San Francisco Bay Area for 15 years. He listens to far too many podcasts and is a die-hard 49ers football fan. When Nick’s not at work he likes to cook, play music and read.