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State worker leaves pot panel, CPA license was ‘inactive’

One of three state government officials tapped to dole out licenses for low-THC marijuana in Florida has stepped down.

Last month, the Florida Department of Health on Friday announced the members of the “substantive review panel” within the Office of Compassionate Use.

Florida legalized low-THC, or “non-euphoric,” marijuana last year to help children with severe muscle spasms and seizures.

Christian Bax, the Office of Compassionate Use director; Patricia Nelson, an advisor to Gov. Rick Scott, and Ann Filloon, the “fiscal unit director” of the department’s Children’s Medical Services Division were named.

On Thursday, in a short news release received after 5 p.m., the department said Filloon “decided to remove herself from the panel to focus on her duties as the fiscal unit director.” Ellyn Hutson was named to replace her as the Certified Public Accountant on the panel, the release said.

But, later that evening, POLITICO Florida’s Matt Dixon reported that Filloon had also removed herself from the panel because her CPA license was “inactive.”

Department rules require that at least one person on the three-member panel have a CPA license, but it does not have to be active. Department leaders, however, wanted someone with an active license, according to spokeswoman Tiffany Cowie.

Cowie on Friday confirmed her statements with FloridaPolitics.com. As POLITICO’s report also noted:

The issue has been mired in the rulemaking process … and the low-THC strain is not yet available in Florida. Initially, the department wanted to offer licenses through a lottery, but that ideas was rejected by an administrative law judge.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana under state law, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

But selling marijuana is still a federal crime.

The Obama administration, however, has suggested that federal prosecutors not charge those, particularly “the seriously ill and their caregivers,” who distribute and use medical marijuana under a state law.

Written By

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at jim@floridapolitics.com.

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