Potential Florida pot crop prompts flurry of interest, but business will be limited

Miami HeraldMay 9, 2014 

A tropical plant farmer in Gainesville is hoping marijuana will be the crop that finally helps him make money.

An orchid grower in Homestead has already researched the best machines to extract the oil from the low-THC cannabis to make it available to patients. A vegetable farmer in Highlands County says he’s got the money, the greenhouses and the technology, so all he needs is the security cameras and armed guards.

And at the Florida Medical Cannabis Association, the phone is ringing off the hook from vendors, distributors and investors who want in on Florida’s expected new crop.

This flash of interest was ignited by Florida legislators last week when they passed a bill on the final day of session opening the door to a low-THC strain of medical marijuana to treat people suffering from epileptic seizures, muscle spasms and cancer.

But a last-minute amendment to the bill (SB 1030), which Gov. Rick Scott has promised to sign into law, will keep a tight lid on growers wanting to cash in on the medical marijuana business. The amendment limits the number of growers to just five, parsed by geography in five different regions of the state.

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