Florida gives its medical marijuana office $13.3 million more despite criticism
A joint committee of state lawmakers reluctantly approved another $13.3 million in funding for the state office regulating medical marijuana Thursday, despite being frustrated by delays in implementing the bill that broadly legalized the drug for medical use last summer.
The request from the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, made less than a month after the state’s new fiscal budget went into effect, will go toward several operations, including tracking medical marijuana plants “from seed to sale” through a computer system, securing a vendor for patient identification card processing and paying for legal fees.
The most sizable expense — more than half of the money requested — is linked to licensing four more medical marijuana treatment centers and reviewing an expected 400 applications for the slots. The Department of Health granted an additional license last week to Nature’s Way, a Miami nursery, to settle ongoing litigation and announced it was finally moving forward with awarding the additional licenses after the state patient registry exceeded 100,000 patients this spring.
The mammoth state budget requires passage by both chambers of the Legislature, but the joint legislative budget committee can make changes to it as requested throughout the year. The Office of