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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

First medical marijuana available next week in Florida



The first medical marijuana will be available in Florida next week.

Trulieve, a grower and dispensary based in Tallahassee, announced Wednesday that it has received permission from the Department of Health to start selling a strain of the drug low in THC, the chemical that causes a euphoric high. The Florida Legislature in 2014 legalized that variety of cannabis as a medical option for patients with severe epilepsy and cancer.

This is the first dispensing license from the DOH, according to Trulieve.

"We are happy to announce that we have passed all inspections — from growing and processing to dispensing — and are the very first medical cannabis provider in the state to receive these formal authorizations," Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said in a statement. "And we are most excited to get this much anticipated medicine to the patients of Florida."

Cannabis will be available for delivery statewide, as well as at a dispensary in Tallahassee after a grand opening next Tuesday, Rivers said.

Full-strength medical marijuana will be available from the company for terminally ill patients in early August.

Wednesday's much-anticipated announcement is good news for patients after more than two years of waiting as the state's first medical marijuana program went through state rulemaking and legal challenges.

Other licensed growers are close to releasing their first products, as well. Alpha/Surterra, based in Tampa and Tallahassee, had its first harvest last week.

Florida's medical cannabis program is limited by state law. A constitutional amendment on the ballot this November seeks to expand the program to allow patients with a wider range of conditions access to full-strength medical marijuana.

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 20, 2016 4:26pm]


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