FLORIDA HEALTH DEPARTMENT: NO SMOKEABLE MARIJUANA

Florida is rapidly shaping up as a test case in whether the term “medical marijuana” necessarily includes actual herbaceous cannabis. On May 15, the state’s Health Department ordered Quincy-based Trulieve dispenary to stop selling a “whole flower” product—officially intended for use in vaporizers, but which can, of course, also be smoked. Trulieve just last week began sales of a product dubbed Entourage,—named for the so-called “entourage effect,” the synergistic workings of the various compounds in the cannabis flower. The product is meant to be used in the Volcano vaporizer, reports the Orlando Weekly. The Health Department’s cease-and-desist letter came after local media reports about the sales of Entourage.

“Licensed dispensing organizations have a responsibility to ensure their product is not one that can easily be transitioned into a smokable form. Therefore, whole flower products are not permitted,” state Office of Compassionate Use director Christian Bax wrote in the letter to Trulieve.

Current Florida law bans smoking of medical marijuana but allows use of vaporizers. The Entourage product comes in “vaporizer cups,” but the cannabis inside “can be removed with minimal effort,” according to the cease-and-desist letter.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers responded with a statement saying the company was “surprised by the letter” but is “immediately and completely complying with the department’s wishes while evaluating our options.”

The Health Department action comes as Florida’s legislature is considering enabling legislation on last year’s victorious medical marijuana initiative, Amendment 2. A current version of the law would ban herbaceous cannabis, in spite of voter intent. Low-THC strains can be used by patients suffering from cancer, epilepsy or chronic seizures under the state’s CBD-specific law passed in 2014. The law was later expanded to include patients with terminal conditions, and allow use of more potent strains.

John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who largely bankrolled Amendment 2, has pledged to sue the state over the smoking issue, according to The Cannabist.