Florida's new Office of Compassionate Use has issued proposed rules for the regulation of Charlotte's Web, that buzz-free variety of marijuana the Legislature approved for limited medical use this year.
In Tallahassee on Monday, hearings and public comment began on the proposed rules. They cover every aspect of the limited medical marijuana program that will focus solely on patients with seizure and spasticity disorders.
The program is medical marijuana but it has nothing to do with Amendment Two, the much broader medical marijuana amendment that will go to Florida voters in November.
But the prospect of Amendment Two's passage for is one reason attorney David Kotler is paying attention to the Charlotte's Web rule-making. He and his partners from a Boca Raton law firm have launched a new business unit that will provide legal representation for people making a legal living in the (possibly) future medical marijuana business.
So far, he says, the Charlotte's Web rules read like the reasonable product of a state that has witnessed and learned from the mistakes of other medical marijuana states.
But Kotler has some quibbles. One of them is the strict oversight on the levels of THC, the stuff that gets you high when you smoke marijuana. Charlotte's Web has only trace amounts (the therapeutic ingredient is a different chemical called cannabidiol).
Kotler says he's hearing from patients that the low-THC stuff may not work so well.
"A cancer patient may need the THC level and some level of euphoria... appetite stimulation, that this (marijuana) just doesn’t accomplish," he says. "And so I think that, while well-meaning, it just doesn’t go far enough."
The Charlotte's Web law and the rules being made will carefully track every scrap of marijuana in the Charlotte's Web production process. And that aspect of the regulation is so strict that, according to Kotler, it makes no provision for an approved grower to acquire the first marijuana seed or clone to begin the first crop. "You may have to break the law to follow the law," he says.
The rules are so strict and so oriented to making sure that nobody can get high that Kotler (and some others) worry that they may carry over to govern medical marijuana under Amendment Two if it passes.