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Crist blasts Scott for plan to use a lottery to select marijuana producers

Crist and John MorganThe growing tensions between prospective producers of medical marijuana and state regulators have now become political fodder as former Gov. Charlie Crist on Friday blasted the Gov. Rick Scott for a plan to use a lottery to select the companies that will develop legalized pot in Florida.

Speaking to reporters in Miami on Friday, Crist said he believes the system should be based on a merit-selection system, similar to one endorsed by nurseries, investors and families of people suffering from the ailments the low-THC marijuana will be used to treat.

"The best way to award any contract is to have a good, open, honest, competitive process," Crist said when asked about the issue Friday, according to the News Service of Florida.

"I don't know that a lottery is the right way to go, frankly,'' he said. "It seems to me that people ought to submit their applications. They ought to be reviewed, thoroughly reviewed in a comprehensive fashion, and those that are determined to be the best are the ones that should get the contracts."

Crist’s comments come a day after the Department of Health, an agency of the governor, released its proposed rule for the development and cultivation of the low-THC marijuana.

The issue has the potential to become a legal fight, or discourage many companies from participating, and Crist is clearly prepared to use this as another wedge issue against the governor.

Despite appeals from families and prospective companies that the agency use a merit-based system to select who will obtain the licenses, the agency -- fearing litigation -- continues to adhere to a lottery system. Under the rule, the companies will comply with certain criteria and from that list a computer-generated "double random lottery-type system" will decide which companies will be granted the license in each of five regions of the state.

Among those who support using a merit-based system are dozens of Tallahassee's biggest-named lobbyists and lawyers, most of whom are Republicans, who have been hired to represent the wanna-be pot producers. 

Crist is also a supporter of Amendment 2, the proposal on the November ballot to allow for the legalization of a broader array of marijuana for a specific list of ailments. He has been heavily backed by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, who is the prime supporter of the amendment and is Crist's boss at the Orlando-based law firm of Morgan & Morgan.

Scott has not commented on the marijuana rule but has indicated that he personally opposes the amendment. Scott was joined on the campaign trail on Friday with former Gov. Jeb Bush, who came out in opposition to Amendment 2 on Thursday.

Photo: Charlie Crist and John Morgan

Comments

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Parent who wants a natural remedy

If any of those opposing the medical use of cannabis had children or loved ones who were granted genuine relief from their suffering, or the horrible side effects they experience from the harshest prescriptions drugs, they would not be on the side of pharmaceuticals opposing this natural remedy.

Addictive prescriptions and alcohol are so much worse than than cannabis, and so much more expensive. Those who oppose it oppose the rights of people to find relief and end suffering. And if it helps a backache and could be an option to addictive pain killers, then people should have the choice. If you don't like it, don't use it, but don't deny those who find relief. And if the euphoric portion help people find some stress relief or a way to deal with their torment because of their debilitating affliction, or it helps their appetite, then who are politicians to eliminate it as a choice? Have a little compassion for those who are not as fortunate to enjoy the good health you enjoy.

James M. Ray

Only ONE candidate (the one the Herald doesn't want to mention, coincidentally!) would let the free marketplace decide such questions. http://wyllieforgovernor.com/

Bettye Cates

Why is it that the media assumes that there are only 2 candidates running for Governor, and both are still playing 'Politics as usual?' Florida finally has a real choice of an Independant Governor who wants to fully legalize Marijuana, for medical and recreational use, turn Florida into a real vacation destination again, get big money corporations out of the political stranglehold the party politicians continue to lock us into, overhaul mortgage banking and homeowners insurance in the state, saving Florida residents millions of dollars, while revamping our economy, jobs, and agriculture by making Florida a GMO free state, producing much sought after organic produce for an increasingly GMO wary country! Please get the word out about Farid Khavari for Governor. I am appalled that a candidate and Economist with so many great ideas is being totally ignored by main stream media, and is as yet, virtually unknown to the public! Why is it that the media assumes that there are only 2 candidates running for Governor, and both are still playing 'Politics as usual?' Florida finally has a real choice of an Independant Governor who wants to fully legalize Marijuana, for medical and recreational use, turn Florida into a real vacation destination again, get big money corporations out of the political stranglehold the party politicians continue to lock us into, overhaul mortgage banking and homeowners insurance in the state, saving Florida residents millions of dollars, while revamping our economy, jobs, and agriculture by making Florida a GMO free state, producing much sought after organic produce for an increasingly GMO wary country! Please get the word out about Farid Khavari for Governor. I am appalled that a candidate and Economist with so many great ideas is being totally ignored by main stream media, and is as yet, virtually unknown to the public!

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