JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A local attorney is challenging the Florida Department of Health’s proposed regulations for the state’s new medical marijuana industry, which was approved by the legislature last year.
Last week, Jacksonville attorney Ian Christensen filed a challenge in the state Division of Administration Hearings to the rules for implementing the 2014 law that would make the limited “Charlotte’s Web” strain of medical marijuana available. The strain is said to be low in the euphoria-inducing THC chemical and high in cannabidiol, the supposed medicinal parts of the plant.
“It’s a push pull between the pro-medical marijuana community and the State of Florida,” says WOKV legal analyst Mark Rubin.
Rubin says the conservative-leaning legislature and governor want to limit the use of medical marijuana in Florida. He believes Charlotte’s Web was proposed so more people would not feel the need to approve the ballot initiative last November that would have made medical marijuana far more readily available.
“They thought maybe people would vote against the amendment because they’d say, ‘Well we already have a medical marijuana law,’” he says.
Rubin says people like Christensen want to speed up the rollout of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 for the children who need it.
Christensen’s challenge finds fault with the Health Department’s proposed rule that only five organizations can grow and dispense the medical marijuana. His challenge says the rule lacks minimum standards for the “dispensing organization” and does not guarantee statewide access to patients who need the drugs.
Rubin says Christensen is looking to broaden the competition to increase availability and avoid backlogs.