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Expect roughly 400,000 to qualify for medical marijuana

LEE COUNTY, Fla.- If Amendment 2 passes, WINK News found nearly 400,000 people could qualify for medical marijuana, according to a report from the Department of Health to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research.

In a 16-page report from the Office of Economic and Demographic Research (EDR) it cites several possible impacts to the state of Florida, if Amendment 2 were passed. Last fall, EDR and other state agencies held four workshops to look at the financial impacts of medical marijuana.

During that study, the Florida Department of Health estimated there would be 2,500 caregivers and roughly 1,700 dispensaries in the state. Those estimates were calculated, after health officials reviewed data from Colorado and Oregon, where medical marijuana is legal.

If voters pass medical marijuana in Florida, the Department of Health is tasked with setting up rules and regulations. Adam Bierman works with the company MedMen, which is a consulting firm for potential marijuana businesses. He said it is likely the Department of Health is talking to other states about how they implemented their rules.

“The state is deciding how many licenses are going to be available and those licenses are going to be very restrictive,” Bierman said.

In fact, his firm just finished helping potential businesses in Illinois apply to be a dispensary or grow house.

“Those applicants they’re putting together are 2,000 page applications to demonstrate to the state their merits in receiving one.”

WINK News spoke to Bob Morgan at the Illinois Department of Health. Morgan said the application asks about the company’s business plan, security plan and principal officers are required to undergo a criminal background check. In Illinois, they received 350 applications for grow houses and dispensaries. The state is only issuing 81 total licenses. Morgan said there is a $5,000 application fee for dispensaries and a $25,000 application for grow houses. Those fees are non-refundable.

As for Florida, if Amendment Two passes here, the Department of Health will have to sort out those guidelines by June 30, 2015. Patient and personal caregiver identification cards, along with registration for dispensaries will be issued by October 1, 2015.

Author: Lindsey Sablan
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