The Florida Health Department made an order to stop selling a “whole flower” marijuana product that can be smoked in vaporizers, stating that it is illegal. Quincy-based Trulieve started selling “Entourage,” a whole flower product meant to be used in the Volcano vaporizer, last week.
The Health Department sent a letter to Trulieve after the News Service of Florida reported that the flower of the marijuana plant can be easily smoked in pipes, bongs, or joints, which are violations of the current medical marijuana laws.
“Licensed dispensing organizations have a responsibility to ensure their product is not one that can easily be transitioned into a smokable form. Therefore, whole flower products are not permitted,” says Christian Bax, the director of state Office of Compassionate Use.
Florida law does not permit medical marijuana smoking except using vaporizers. Trulieve’s products are in “small, wire mesh bags” in vaporizer cups. The caps can be easily removed.
The company was “surprised by the letter” but is “ immediately and completely complying with the department’s wishes while evaluating our options.” They believed that the product was legal and they had been selling the product for almost a year.
“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,” says Kim Rivers, the company’s CEO.
Law makers were not able to reach an agreement on a constitutional amendment for medical marijuana regarding patients with debilitating diseases., but they all agreed on one thing: Smokable products should not be permitted.
The sale of smokable marijuana surprised the key legislators in Florida. Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan pledged to sue the state on the smoking marijuana issue, which was approved by over 71 percent of voters in November.
Advocates and patients say that the whole flower is stronger than processed products like oils or vape.
However, the state Department of Health disagrees. “The state’s marijuana operators are allowed to seek permission to sell ‘ground cannabis plant material’ meant to be vaped,” said Bad last Monday, “however, as conveyed to Trulieve in a June 28, 2016 meeting on this matter, dispensing organizations may not dispense easily breached products containing whole flower.”
He also criticized Trulieve for promoting the vaporizer but not selling it. Although it is available, the purchase of delivery products not from a dispensing organization is illegal.
“The department reminds Trulieve that all sales, possession, and use of cannabis outside of the provision” of Florida laws “are a potential criminal act,” says Bax.