Lawmakers in nearly a dozen states in 2014 enacted legislation that promised to provide patients, particularly those suffering from intractable epilepsy, the opportunity to use cannabidiol (CBD) – a nonpsychotropic plant cannabinoid recognized for its anti-convulsant properties. The problem? So far, patients in none of these states possess the ability to legally access the compound. And there is no indication that this situation is going to change any time soon.
In Utah, the first state this year to officially recognize CBD therapy under state law, fewer than a dozen registration cards have so far been issued to patients seeking to be a part of the nascent program. However, once registered, Utah law only provides patients with legal protection from arrest. It does not provide them with a state-specific source for cannabidiol.
In Iowa, patients qualified to use CBD under state law recently told lawmakers that their prospects of obtaining the therapeutic compound remain “light years away.” In response to citizens’ complaints, Iowa Department of Public Health administrator Deborah Thompson said that she understood patients’ frustration, but added, “[T]here are a lot of moving parts for any new program.”
In the Sunshine State, local efforts to license growers of high-CBD strains of cannabis are moving at an equally sluggish pace. Under draft rules presently being contemplated by Florida regulators, only five growers of the product would be permitted. Further, in order to be considered for a license, would-be applicants must establish that they have previously operated a nursery for a minimum of 30 years. Finally, growers selected by the state to provide CBD products will have to pay a $150,000 licensing fee and post a $5 million bond before they are allowed to legally operate.
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