Florida has new regulatory chief for state’s medical cannabis industry

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Christopher Phillip Kimball has been appointed director of Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

He was appointed the state’s MMJ chief by newly reelected Gov. Ron DeSantis, News Service of Florida reported.

Kimball succeeds Chris Ferguson, who led the state’s medical cannabis program for three years.

Ferguson “has transitioned into the role of statewide services administrator for county health systems” at the Florida health department, an agency spokesperson told News Service of Florida.

Among the duties awaiting Kimball is the issuance of up to eight new medical marijuana dispensary licenses by June 2024, according to Florida Politics.

Kimball doesn’t appear to have any cannabis-specific experience.

He is a veteran of the Navy, where he served in the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps for nearly 14 years.

According to News Service of Florida, Kimball served as a “health care policy advisor” since leaving the Navy and also has worked in the state attorney general’s office.

He recently was admitted to The Florida Bar.

With 475 dispensaries and more than $1 billion worth of sales through July, Florida is considered the country’s largest medical-only cannabis market.

Marijuana multistate operator Trulieve Cannabis, which is based in Florida, operates one-fourth of those dispensaries.