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Politics

Defiant Medical Marijuana Vendor Is Selling the Smokeable Product

May 10, 2017 - 6:00pm

Even while Florida lawmakers have insisted they do not want patients to smoke pot, one of the state's seven licensed medical-marijuana vendors on Tuesday began selling whole-flower cannabis.

Florida law bans patients from smoking the substance, but doesn't prohibit vendors from selling marijuana buds meant for use in vaporizers --- but which also can be smoked in joints, pipes or other delivery devices.

Trulieve, one of seven licensed marijuana operators in Florida, started selling the whole-flower product on Tuesday, just days after lawmakers failed to reach agreement on a measure to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana for patients with a broad swath of debilitating conditions.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers told The News Service of Florida on Wednesday her company has sold whole-leaf products in different forms --- all designed to be ingested by vaporizers --- for nearly a year. Those products, however, were ground up, unlike the new bud-like product that can be smoked.

Quincy-based Trulieve's new product, first sold on Tuesday, comes in canisters designed for use with vaporizer pens. But patients can easily use the substance in other ways, such as in joints, bongs or pipes --- consumption methods off-limits under state law.

Rivers said whole-leaf products are critical for patients seeking the “entourage effect” that results from consumption of whole-flower marijuana, as opposed to processed cannabis products, such as oils or other derivatives.

“We feel very strongly that having products available that allow patients to have a choice and to benefit from the entourage effect, also available to physicians to make recommendations to patients, is critical. So if that means we're pushing the envelope, we've had a form of whole-flower vaporizer available from the day we've opened. This has always been part of our product line and will continue to be in the future,” Rivers said in a telephone interview.

Trulieve's new product went on the market after Monday's end of the 2017 legislative session, during which lawmakers insisted they wanted to impose a ban on smoking marijuana products. 

“The bills that were going through the process on the House and Senate side were the antithesis of this activity,” Sen. Bill Galvano, a Bradenton Republican who took over negotiations on the pot measure in the waning days of the session, told the News Service on Wednesday.

The session ended without legislators reaching a consensus on implementation of the constitutional amendment, approved by more than 71 percent of voters in November.

Not only were lawmakers intent on banning smoking of marijuana, Galvano also seemed surprised that current law allowed vendors like Trulieve to sell the whole-flower products.

“I understand the technical nature of the argument that's being made to you. But if the net result was the retail sale of marijuana that could be put into a rolling paper or any other apparatus, that was not the intent. In fact, the intent was to prevent that from happening,” Galvano, slated to take over as Senate president late next year, said.

Smoking of medical marijuana was one of the key issues for patients during debate on implementation of the constitutional amendment, largely bankrolled by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan. Morgan maintains patients should be allowed to smoke the substance and has threatened to sue over the issue.

Limited medical-marijuana laws approved in 2014 and 2016 prohibit smoking but allow vaporizing. The whole flower “entourage effect” is  the result of a combination of terpines and cannabinoids present in cannabis.

“We are very clear with our patients that smoking is currently illegal, under current Florida law, however vaporizing is specifically allowed,” Rivers said.

But sales of whole-flower products raised red flags even for other medical marijuana proponents, for a variety of reasons.

“I think it's going to be a challenge for law enforcement, and patients need to exercise caution,” said Jodi James, executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network.

James was referring to the odor created when marijuana is used in a “vape” pen, or smoked by other means. 

James pointed the finger at lawmakers for failing to establish parameters for consumption of marijuana after passage of the amendment.

“If this is their idea for allowing an industry to develop, I'm very disappointed in them for not taking a stronger hand on it. If they didn't see it coming, I'm very surprised at their lack of foresight,” she said. 

Comments

where is this located. do you need your medical clearance.

This means our vote has no power over our destiny. If it comes down to it.. I'll smoke a few government offices in pursuit of our Constitution. Careful. I mean really. You aren't barking up the right tree, Florida Senate. Weed is not worth as much to me in a bong as it is in the minds of millions of angry people. There are also Anarchists just sitting back looking for your police to represent oppression to promote the values of Punk Rock among the angry young adults.

Get past it! Sell it for recreational use and make up for the unfunded mandates the legislature keeps pushing down on local governments. Typically it is follow the money. Now they all know where the money is but are afraid of moving towards it till they know they will be re-elected or how to get their cut.

Lets see, the vote was over 70% in favor... wonder how many state legislatures will be voted out of office because they cannot hear the people?

There is one group of doctors and one dispensary that truly CARES about what We The Patient's voted for and want and NEED to live a better quality of life. Every ILL patient is different and each of us has to find what delivery method works best for us. It's no different than pharmaceuticals when it comes to finding what works best for us. There are thousands of cannabis strains out there and not ONE is going to work for everyone's illnesses. We have to try different strains and different delivery methods until we find what works best for us. Period. No one knows our bodies better than we do, not even our doctors.

What about the intent of the voters, you asshole? “I understand the technical nature of the argument that's being made to you. But if the net result was the retail sale of marijuana that could be put into a rolling paper or any other apparatus, that was not the intent. In fact, the intent was to prevent that from happening,” Galvano, slated to take over as Senate president late next year, said.

The Provider is in compliance with the State Constitution and that is both legal and a "good thing".

Look at the photo, just a bag of worthless weeds.

Naturally you have one nutcase in the bunch-CBreeze, who definitely has his HUHA!

This company is in compliance with the constitution, it is the lawmakers who are not in compliance.

Smoke able or not it's still Near Beer!

Thank you !!! Kim Rivers and Trulieve your actions speak multitudes for the suffering patients of florida and represents the spirit and the will of 71% of Floridians. Thanks again for standing up for us.

Actually the Florida constitution says anyone who needs any medicine for their health is allowed to have it period................. And pot has come up twice to the Florida SC where patients had a clear need, grew and used it and was dismissed and told not to bring another one before them. ..........................Fact is whole flower has been selectively bred for 10k yrs, longer than most plants to be what we want, need..................... And one only has to look at Spice to see what happens when you isolate the chemicals out. It is their working together in much smaller amounts each that make pot so effective and safe................. Start changing it, concentrating, eating it only leads to problems. Vs vaporizing or smoking is naturally limiting making it maybe the safest drug as no one has ever died of pot poisoning........................ Though if they keep screwing, concentrating it no telling..................... Make it readily available so those ho need it, especially opioid users can switch to a far safer, healthier and not physically addictive and increasingly not effective over time, pot is so, so much safer................ So no need to treat it like heroin when pot is safer than water.

The exterior signage at the Knox Cannabis Dispensary doesn't include the word "Medical", which could be another loophole to condition the public into accepting recreational dispensaries at the same locations in a future state referendum. But those locations may not be ideal for recreational consumers.

Knox will provide fresh, clean marijuana, cultivated for easy use anywhere! IF the legislature ever wants to be reelected, they had better work it all out....quickly!

It's a PLANT Good for you People suffer you help

Welcome, Kim Rivers, to providing exactly what VOTERS APPROVED! It's obvious Ms. Rivers has more balls in her tank than ANY other member of this year's legislature!

GOOD THING we didn't trust THAT unscrupulous,"weak sister" (Dare I say the word "Pusher"?) to distribute "medical marijuana" to the rest of the "weak sisters".....!

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