After numerous delays brought about by legal challenges and bureaucratic red tape, the five dispensaries who will be permitted to grow and distribute “low THC / high CBD” strains of medical marijuana have been selected.
The five who were selected are:
1. Costa Nursery Farms of Miami (Southeast region)
2. Alpha Foliage of Homestead (Southwest region)
3. Knox Nursery of Winter Garden (Central region)
4. Hackney Nursery Company of Tallahassee (Northwest region)
5. Chestnut Hill Tree Farm of Alachua (Northeast region)
The five dispensing organizations were selected from a group of 28 applicants who were able to meet the stringent application requirements established by the State.
The selections have already come under fire based on the fact that four of the winners also had representatives who were members of the selection committee. This has led to accusations of cronyism, improper influence, and self-dealing. Critics claim that the award of the 5 licenses was an inside job that will set the winners up to profit significantly, particularly if medical marijuana laws are expanded in the future. Those issues will likely be addressed further if and when some of the unsuccessful applicants launch challenges.
Each of the five winners must now post a $5 million dollar performance bond within 10 days or risk losing their spot to the next highest scoring applicant.
The five dispensing organizations will only be permitted to deal in a low-THC form of cannabis which is consumed by a limited number of patients (only about 20,000 such patients are believed to live in Florida). However, obtaining a dispensing organization license is viewed by most as giving these five nurseries a significant advantage if Florida voters approve a much broader medical marijuana law in November of 2016.