Archives for July, 2014

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Object to Restrictive Charlotte’s Web Rules

As I reported last week, the Florida Department of Health has proposed new rules which impose further limitations on the already restrictive rules for dispensaries established by Florida’s Charlotte’s Web law.

At a hearing held in Tallahassee on July 7th, a group of cannabis entrepreneurs packed the public hearing and spoke out against the rules.  Those who attended voiced concerns that echoed the most often criticized parts of the new regulations, namely, the creation of a monopolistic system with only 1 dispensary for each of the state’s 5 regions and the high barriers that prevent nearly all applicants from becoming one of those dispensing organizations.

While it is true that Amendment 2 will open medical marijuana up to a larger group of patients and will endow them with constitutionally protected access to cannabis, it is still uncertain how that will impact the Department of Health’s approach to delivering marijuana to patients.  My primary concern is that the Department will simply seek to transition the overly restrictive Charlotte’s Web dispensary model into the new Amendment 2 system.  That could be devastating to many cannabis entrepreneurs and would certainly bring forward legal challenges to any such system.

One thing that we can all take away from this process is that, even if Amendment 2 is approved in November and a broader access to cannabis is created, it likely won’t come without a fight.

Florida Drafts Additional Rules for Charlotte’s Web Dispensaries

I have previously posted an article detailing the rather stringent requirements that must be met to qualify as a “dispensing organization” under the newly enacted Charlotte’s Web law.  Included in the laundry list of requirements are rules that limit the applicants to those with 30 or more years of continuous operation as a licensed nursery, possession of a license to grow over 400,000 plants, the posting of a $5 million dollar bond, along with a host of other rules and regulations.

The impact of these restrictive requirements is that only a small handful of businesses in the state can even qualify to apply for a Charlotte’s Web license.  In fact, the Department of Agriculture has found that only 39 businesses in the state can meet the initial requirements.  So, how will the state determine which of the 39 applicants will be granted one of the five licenses being offered to dispensing organizations?

The Department of Health has released a draft of more proposed rules which seek to answer that question.  Under these proposed rules, if more than one applicant applies for a license in a particular dispensing region, then a lottery will be used  to select which applicant receives the license.  After being selected, the lottery winner would then have 30 days to pay a $150,000 application fee and post the required $5 million bond.  If the winner fails to do so, the process would start again.

The new rules also impose a number of other specific requirements on applicants, including submission of detailed information about the applicant’s infrastructure and ability to produce Low-THC cannabis;  written proof of the applicant’s financial status, ability to post the $5 million bond and to operate under the rules;  detailed info about the owners/operators, including any criminal history, and the manner in which the business is structured;  along with numerous other requirements.

The full text of the proposed rules can be viewed by clicking here.

While these proposed rules only apply to the Charlotte’s Web law, they should serve as a foreshadowing of the types of rules and regulations that the State will seek to impose upon applicants if and when Amendment 2 is approved and a much broader access to medical cannabis comes to Florida.  So, these rules are worth paying attention to, even if you aren’t one of the small group of applicants who can apply for a Charlotte’s Web license.


Florida Cannabis Consultants Featured In Sun Sentinel

Norm Kent of Flordia Cannabis Consultants was recently featured in an article that appeared in the Sun Sentinel.  The article focused on numerous entrepreneurs who are hopeful to cash in on Medical Marijuana if and when it arrives in the State of Florida.

Mr. Kent offered a much needed dose of reality to those who may be letting their enthusiasm for medical cannabis to blind them to the risks and pitfalls that are unique to the business.

[W]ould-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs have no way of knowing exactly what the rules or restrictions would be if Amendment 2 passes.

That concerns Wilton Manors lawyer Norm Kent, past president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

“I’ve never seen anything like the Green Rush in Florida. People are counting their votes before anybody has cast one,” said Kent, who said he and his law partner are “walking people through the minefield.”

Potential business owners should know, for example, that they won’t be able to write off business expenses as in other companies because, on the federal level, marijuana growing and selling is illegal.

“This is a very risky business. If you make a mistake, you can be charged with a felony,” Kent said.

Read the entire article by CLICKING HERE