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Knox Nursery gets state permission to start growing pot

Central Florida’s licensed producer and distributor of medical marijuana products received conditional state permission to start growing cannabis at its Winter Garden greenhouses.

Knox Nursery received its cultivation authorization from the Florida Department of Health on May 13, making it the fourth of six licensed medical marijuana companies to get permission to plant seeds.

The actual production of medicines may yet take a while. First, Knox, whose region includes St. Petersburg and the northern part of the Tampa Bay area and a swath across Florida that includes metropolitan Orlando, Daytona Beach and Melbourne, still has a few things to accomplish. It still must set up some security and greenhouse apparatus and hire more staff, according to the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use.

Second, it takes a while to grow marijuana.

Knox has 210 calendar days — about seven months — to get products available on the market.

Knox officials were not available Monday to comment on their authorization or plans.

Under Florida law, Knox was granted a license last December to grow non-euphoric marijuana, plants with high levels of the chemical CBD that is believed to have certain medicinal properties, and low levels of the chemical THC, which gets people high.

Their products have limited use compared with proposals to expand Florida’s medical marijuana legalization, particularly the proposed Amendment 2 to Florida’s Constitution. The now-legal non-euphoric products are believed to be effective in controlling epilepsy and a handful of other neurological disorders that cause seizures or tremors, and perhaps may help some cancer patients.

Knox has the growing franchise for the Central Florida district, but any licensed medical marijuana company can sell anywhere in the state.

The other three companies that have received cultivation authorization are Costa Nursery Farms, operating under the name Modern Health Concepts, which has the license for southeast Florida; Alpha Foliage, operating under the name Surterra Therapeutics, which has the southwest license; and Hackney Nursery, which has the Northwest license.

Neither of the two companies licensed in northeast Florida, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm nor Grandiflora, operating as San Felasco Nurseries, have received permission yet to grow marijuana.


Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at

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