Another Possible Setback for Florida’s CBD Program

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Florida’s CBD industry may face further delays after a key official overseeing implementation of the program stepped down.

Patricia Nelson has left the the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use to join the governor’s office, leaving the director position she held since December open, according to Politico.

The move comes at a critical time for Florida’s CBD program, as the health department is reviewing applications for licenses to produce, process and sell high-CBD, low-THC products.

Taylor Patrick Biehl, a lobbyist for the industry and co-founder of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, told SaintPetersBlog he hopes Nelson’s departure doesn’t hold up the program. A spokeswoman for the department said she doesn’t expect any delays, but they are certainly a possibility in this type of situation.

The department received applications from 24 companies, which it must whittle down to five winners. Officials expect to announce which companies will receive licenses by Aug. 8.

Regulatory and legal issues, including a lawsuit by a nursery that claimed the rules favored politically connected growers, have already delayed the program.

While the licenses are expected to be lucrative, some feared too few companies would apply because of the extreme barriers to entry. The industry is restricted to horticultural growers that have been in business for at least 30 years and have the capacity for a minimum of 400,000 plants.