On Sept. 20, 2017, Florida health officials unveiled an emergency rule that outlines new standards for the Florida medical marijuana application process.
Hoping to avoid the mistakes made when rolling out the state’s low-THC medical marijuana program, the five-page rule drastically changes certain aspects of the application process for medical marijuana treatment centers.
For example, under the old application process applicants were scored by a three-person panel and names were easily identifiable on their applications, leading many to allege favoritism when licenses were awarded.
Under the new Florida medical marijuana application process, however, all applicants will be anonymously scored by a 16-member panel comprised of experts in the areas of cultivation, processing, dispensing, compliance, human resources, health care and finance. The panel members must also have no professional conflicts of interest.
According to legislation signed by Gov. Rick Scott on June 26, the state has until Oct. 3 to select five new licensees, along with the new rule’s requirement that four “contingent licensees” be awarded licenses that go into effect when patient enrollment hits 100,000.
Despite describing the timeline as “literally impossible” to meet, United for Care spokesperson Ben Pollara told the Miami Herald that the new rule is a victory for Floridians.
“This is a tremendous victory for the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who will ultimately need safe, affordable, convenient access to medical marijuana. It’s also great to see the department has learned from the mistakes of the previous process and taken significant steps to make the licensing process as fair and transparent as possible,” Pollara said.