The Florida Department of Health will soon be accepting applications from organizations  interested in cultivating and distributing low-THC cannabis in the state after an administrative law judge dismissed the final pending challenge to the proposed rules of the program.

Although state lawmakers approved the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in 2014, its implementation has been stalled because of numerous legal challenges claiming that the proposed rules for the program were vague and unfair. 

Now that all of the challenges have been addressed, the Department of Health anticipates that the special low-THC form of medical marijuana authorized under the law, which is sometimes referred to as Charlotte’s Web, will be available to eligible patients before the end of this year.

After the judge’s ruling, the Department of Health filed the final rules and forms for the program, as required by state law, which renders them effective June 17, 2015. 

Florida nurseries that have been in business in Florida for at least 30 years and grow a minimum of 400,000 plants are eligible to apply for one of five licenses to grow and distribute the special low-THC cannabis within the state. As part of the application process, nurseries will be required to demonstrate, among other things, that they have the financial wherewithal to cover start-up costs and remain in business for two years.

It is anticipated that the Department of Health will be accepting applications for the five licenses from June 17, 2015 through July 8, 2015, and the recipients of the licenses will be announced on August 8, 2015.