MEDICAL MARIJUANA The Florida Department of Health released proposed rules on January 16th regarding the growing, processing and dispensing of medical marijuana. The DOH had originally suggested using a lottery system to designate the nurseries allowed to grow the plant. After an administrative judge threw out that proposal, the DOH released a new proposed rule where a panel will select the five nurseries permitted to grow the medical-grade marijuana plants. Panel members would include the director of the state’s Office of Compassionate Use, an accountant and a member of the Drug Policy Advisory Council. The next public hearing is scheduled for February 4th.
CITRUS GREENING The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently reduced this season’s forecast for orange production by five percent. The greening of citrus trees continues to devastate the State’s $9 billion citrus industry. Early projections last Fall predicted a slight increase in production, but new numbers anticipate a reduction by about 4 million boxes of the fruit. As a result, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam is requesting that the Legislature earmark $18 million to fight the disease. The funding would go toward research, planting new trees in devastated areas and growing clean citrus stock.
FLORIDA PREPAID Over 17,000 children were registered for a new pre-pay college plan last Fall. In contrast, roughly 5,000 children were enrolled during the same period in 2013. The surge in sales is credited to the passage of HB 851, an education bill which, among other things, eliminated the “tuition differential” and substantially lowered the cost of the plans. To lock into the current fee structure, enrollment must be completed by February 8th.