Florida pot stores will be selected by lottery

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- Millions of people buy tickets in hopes of winning the Florida Lottery. But, soon a lot of businesses will be competing for a different lottery in the state.

State regulators have proposed a new rule to decide which companies will be able to grow and sell Charlottes's Web – a low content of medical cannabis. They'll discuss it in a second workshop Friday held by the Florida Department of Health.

The plan is to host a lottery and choose five dispensaries in different regions of Florida. But, that's catching a lot of criticism from those who want the state to pick businesses with the best quality.

Still, the Florida health department's goal with the lottery is to avoid possible lawsuits.

"There's a lot of concern about the lottery itself. I mean the Department of Health, this is their second-rule revision. They're trying to listen to stakeholders and individuals who have experience with both growing cannabis, processing, cultivating it," said Jeffrey Sharkey, a Tallahassee lobbyist and grower advocate with Capitol Alliance Group.

"The applicants who are not among the five dispensaries chosen by the state of Florida will undoubtedly sue," said Taylor Biehl, director of legislative programs for Capitol Alliance Group.

With the current plan, only one dispensary would cover around 8 million people in the central Florida region.

Health officials will discuss the revised rule in tomorrow's workshop.


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