Florida bill would allow 20 new medical marijuana businesses

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At least one state senator in Florida isn’t content with proposed medical marijuana industry rules that would keep the number of licensed companies at seven.

Sen. Bob Bradley has introduced a bill in the Florida Legislature to bump that number up by 20, the Ocala StarBanner reported.

But there’s a catch: The number of business licenses would increase to 27 only after the number of registered MMJ patients surpasses 500,000.

This may seem like a high bar, but the director of the Florida Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use has said the patient count could reach the milestone by the end of 2017, the newspaper reported.

The bill would require state health officials to issue five more MMJ business licenses each time the patient count reaches certain thresholds.

For example, another five would be issued once the patient count reaches 250,000, and then at 350,000, again at 400,000, and another five at 500,000. After that, another five licenses would be required for every additional 100,000 patients that register.

Bradley’s bill would further repeal a current requirement that physicians treat patients for at least 90 days before being allowed to recommend MMJ for them, and it would increase the number of days that patients are allowed to purchase medical cannabis supplies from 45 to 90 days.

The bill would also prohibit edibles that could be “attractive to children.”

Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the MMJ measure approved by Florida voters last year, called Bradley’s bill “a good start” but said it’s probably not “a significant enough expansion of licenses … to serve what’s going to be a quickly growing patient base.”