Marijuana is legally growing in Florida.
After receiving approval from the Florida Department of Health last week, it’s official: Alpha Foliage, Inc. of Homestead is the first licensed nursery to legally plant marijuana for medical use in Florida.
Surterra Therapeutics, is Alpha Foliage’s medical franchise dedicated to cultivating cannabis. The company announced Wednesday it had started growing medical marijuana, which was approved by the Florida legislature and signed into law almost two years ago.
The Florida Department of Health requires that each of the five nurseries awarded growing licenses last November must begin cultivation within 210 days of passing DOH inspection of their growing and processing facilities. Mara Gambineri, spokesperson for DOH, said that inspections are currently underway and Surterra was the first to pass inspection.
One week after passing its inspection, Surterra started growing marijuana, according to a news release.
“We have plants in the ground and we are on track to open our first Surterra store in Tampa as soon as June,” said Susan Driscoll, president of Surterra Therapeutics and managing director of Alpha Foliage, in a news release.
Monica Russell, spokesperson for Surterra, said the goal is to get products to patients as early as possible now.
“It’s been a really long process to get here,” Russell said.
The nursery previously told the Florida Senate Committee on Regulated Industries they are on track to have non-euphoric cannabis products ready for distribution as early as June 2016.
The controversial drug is regulated by the DOH under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 for patients suffering from cancers, epilepsy and muscle spasm conditions.
Other Surterra dispensary stores are planned for Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Orlando and Miami.
The news that Alpha Foliage is the first to cultivate medical marijuana in the state of Florida comes just weeks after a Feb. 2 injunction was filed by three nurseries who were not awarded growing licenses. The injunction seeks to temporarily block cannabis production until all legal challenges to the state have been resolved.
Driscoll also said in the news release that Surterra began the process as early as possible for a reason;
“We are anxious to bring relief and help to the patients of Florida.”