SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed


Fried Announces 18-Member Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee

June 10, 2019 - 2:30pm
Nikki Fried
Nikki Fried

Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried announced Monday a new Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, which she says will collaborate with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to help improve the state’s medical marijuana policies.

“I’m proud to establish the medical marijuana advisory committee to help expand patient access, and to advance and modernize policies to move Florida into the future of medical marijuana,” Fried said. “This is a plant that not only improves people’s quality of life, it’s an alternative to sometimes dangerous pharmaceuticals and addictive opioids. It’s a medicine that an overwhelming majority of Floridians came together for, calling for constitutionally guaranteed access.”

The new 18-member committee will convene by phone and in-person bimonthly to work through ways to expand patient access, increase innovation and technology in the industry, and make recommendations to the Legislature and the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use to improve Florida’s medical marijuana policies and programs. Cannabis Director Holly Bell will be responsible for overseeing the organization of the committee.

“From affordability to accessibility and safety, we have a moral obligation to act in the best interest of Florida’s patients, and to improve and build progress on our state’s current medical marijuana policies to best deliver this important medicine – and the medical marijuana advisory committee will help us deliver,” said Fried. “I’m thankful to all of our committee members for their commitment and look forward to working with them on behalf of Florida’s patients.”

Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee Members:

Kim Rivers serves as the CEO of Trulieve and has 12 years of experience running successful businesses from real estate to finance as well as years in private practice as a lawyer, specializing in mergers, acquisitions, and securities for multi-million dollar companies.

Barry Gordon, MD is one of Florida’s most experienced medical cannabis providers. He is the owner and Chief Medical Officer of the Compassionate Cannabis Clinic.

David Kotler is a partner in Cohen Kotler P.A. and is Of Counsel to Hoban Law Group in Denver, Colorado where he’s worked on legal issues pertaining to cannabis and hemp.

Michelle Weiner is certified in Interventional Pain Management and Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. She researches substituting cannabis for opioids in chronic pain management at Nova Southeastern University and Florida International University.

Zachary Kobrin has served as General Counsel & Chief Compliance Officer for a multinational cannabis company and Florida MMTC and currently advises cannabis and hemp industry clients on legal, regulatory, and business development issues.

Dan Russell was an attorney with Dean, Mead & Dunbar and represented one of the initial cannabis dispensing organizations in Florida and continues to represent clients involved in all aspects of legal cannabis.

Dr. David B. Corn specializes in podiatry and founded Western Massachusetts Podiatry Associates, PC. He was one of the first medical professionals certified to participate in the Massachusetts medical marijuana program.

Cameron Vance, PharmD, is co-founder and chief information officer at Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida where he works with physicians and patients to improve quality of care and patient outcomes.

Sally Kent Peebles is a partner at Vicente Sederberg LLP, a national firm specializing in cannabis law and policy. She practiced with the firm in Denver, Colorado before returning to Florida to open the firm's Jacksonville office.

Jacel Delgadillo, whose son suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a catastrophic form of epilepsy, co-founded the federal nonprofit CannaMoms to help other children like hers and raise awareness on the benefits of medical cannabis.

Eric Stevens worked to legalize medical marijuana in Massachusetts before helping to lead the 2014 and 2016 efforts to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. He is currently the Director of Business Development at Kaycha Group, which owns and operates EVIO Labs Florida, ISO accredited cannabis testing labs, and the MJ Buddy App.

Mike Smuts is a cannabis industry professional with operations leadership experience across all divisions of several vertically integrated businesses in Colorado and Florida.

Ron Watson founded a full-service governmental affairs firm focused on healthcare and medical cannabis. He is also the Director of Governmental Relations for MuV, a Florida-based medical cannabis company and was recently the Executive Director of the Florida Society of Cannabis Physicians, which closed after losing its bank.

Antoinette Duncan is the President and CEO of Duncan Life Sciences. She has 13 years of experience working with top pharmaceutical, medical device, and cannabis companies, and is currently a member of the ASTM D37 Technical Committee for Cannabis and Minorities for Medical Marijuana.

Peter Barsoom had an extensive career in finance and business strategy, holding senior management positions at leading institutions including American Express, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, BlueMountain Capital and Intercontinental Exchange prior to founding 1906, an edibles company. BlueMountain Capital and Intercontinental Exchange. He serves on the board of numerous leading cannabis industry associations including the Marijuana Industry Group, Colorado Leads, and the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association.

Paul Messer is a Parkinson’s Disease patient who is retired from the contract furniture industry and holds a Master’s degree in Social Work.

Karen Seeb Goldstein serves as the Executive Director of NORML of and Vice Chairman of Regulate Florida.

Elaine Geller is the Vice President of Legislative Affairs at Amercanex, a member of the Congressional Cannabis Coalition, and of CanLab. Geller’s work focuses on cannabis policy development at the state and federal levels.


Looks like i missed that job

Many responders with ignorant comments. Please get educated.. The veterans and PTSD need this medicine. See

Barry Gordon M.D. - Too funny, so sad - overnight expert on Medical Cannabis, was doing Tattoo removal (next to my office) prior to passage. Now charges patients some of the highest rates in the industry.

ENOUGH with the damned pot, already!

Oh who is that at the top of Nikki's list? That boys and girls is Kim Rivers a long time Tallahassee insider who is very intimate with local CRA scandal, illegal kickbacks from government projects to local insiders and family business', and the local web of the tangled web woven by indicted or soon to be indicted Scott Maddox, Page Carter Smith, Andrew Gillum, J T Burnett, and many others!!! Nikki Nikki Nikki shame on you and your choice of friends.

OMG!!! It takes 18 people to roll a joint? Gotta be government employees...

No, I'm sure all 18 are experienced in "rolling fat ones" too, since every one of them is in some marijuana affiliated business around the country; BUT, who's representng the majority bulk of Florida's non "pro-pot" Citizens..? (Nobody in THAT group!!! Who's the "watchdog" tending to, and keeping track of "unforseen consequences"... and there will be many?!? )

Dear C Breeze Neighbor and spiritual confidant, the only consequence is that I am in a prison for using cannabis, while you tick your glass of champagne try to remember these buds are to you.

Government Creep So, you want some pot? Fine... but, you’ll need to give up those guns.

I am again disappointed that none of the Patient Advocates are included. The wrong people.. Again

How are we advancing toward complete decriminalization and good old fashioned home grow.

Tell ya what, if you got to sample the medical stuff they're selling right now, you'd probably say the heck with the hassle of home grown. Sure, an eighth costs about $40 to $50 (more or less, depending), but it lasts a long (I mean long) time and there's no mold or other quality issues. A little piece the size of a lentil bean is enough for a single (not too heavy) draw and that'll put you in your place for a couple of hours. This is not your father's herb.

If you ask I'll tell you, I prefer the green green earth of home grown, and besides my American health insurance would never pay, so as an old man on a pension I say decriminalize, I am sure that all the best legislators have more important business than to be making laws that arrest little old ladies and old men for using cannabis.

Full legalization will happen in time - it's just a question of how much time. I think I once had your attitude about homegrown, and there's nothing wrong with that. Grow it yourself, right? But you just can't duplicate the perfect conditions and monitoring/inspection/quality-control of the professional growers. Homegrown WAS more of a known quantity than buying off the streets, but that's not the case anymore. The "streets" have been replaced with the licensed shops and the product has been replaced with the same consistent quality you expect when you shop at the grocery store. No more "what am I going to get this time?". Things have changed and homegrown isn't the safest comfort zone anymore.

I agree with what you say, my point is decriminalization is a necessary requirement so that cannabis can be freely grown, studied, purchased at the local farmers market, at the produce section of publix and winndixie. It is nice to have all the growing expertise and graded brands, but by having home grown you balance the economy with competition. To all those with ruffled whiskers and tangled panties, just because they sell broccoli at the market, you don't have to buy it or smoke it.

Availability, that's a tough one, but school learning and being baked do not work well together. So I think we need to do what's reasonable and pertinent give our kids the best chance to set themselves up for their future careers. Adults must make their own decisions and deal with the consequences. Kids are not mature enough to realize that they may be screwing up their future. So if it's at Publix, then it should be behind the service counter and not next to the broccoli.

How about placing it on the top shelf of the wine and beer isle, recently I bought a couple of six packs of beer at winn dixie and the cashier requested to see my id (dl), I said hold on as I put down my cane to get to my wallet.

Our disabled friends may have issues accessing the top shelf. When I get ID'd, I explain that I'll be turning 21 in less than a month and they should cut me some slack. That usually gets me a smile and a couple of eye rolls.

All humor aside, in the current reality good people are being arrested by our best law enforcement for using cannabis medicine.

I agree. However, these wheels are turning after having been rusted solid for decades. It's taken a lot of small steps all around the nation to get this far. I truly believe that there isn't anyone (that follows a modicum of current events) who is convinced that full legalization is not an inevitability. I don't think that there's much that you and I can do that we're not already doing. Florida is probably poised for recreational in 2022 (via ballot measure). It's possible that it could happen in 2020, but it seems like the push might not be strong enough. If it doesn't happen by 2022, and I think it will, I'd predict 2024 for sure. Once a large enough majority of the states have turned the corner, the Federal government will be able to remove itself from the issue with little criticism.

I hope you are right. The clock is ticking...

But you know that clock is talking about all drugs, not just cannabis. I don't agree that all recreational drugs should be legal because some of these street drugs are killing unsuspecting people. Carfentanil for instance is 10,000 times more potent than morphine. I don't expect most teenagers could possibly fathom what that could mean if it was in something they obtained on the street. Another one that angers the hell out of me is what's been called "synthetic marijuana" which is not marijuana at all. It's just some herb or spice with some garage made poison sprayed on it. I'll support the legalization of cannabis because we know so much about it and because even street versions have been relatively safe. I'll support minimizing the penalties for (non-dealer quantity) possession of the other drugs just because possession shouldn't be more dangerous than use and because the resulting criminal record shouldn't put a person's career in jeopardy.

I never hard of that stuff- carfentanil, that's why it is so important to get cannabis out of the hands of criminals and into a regulated market. Some people don't realize that the street dealer does not check a young persons id, the street dealer will even give free samples to hook the customer for repeat business. In a regulated market sales would be prohibited to minors, much like alcohol. I read in an article Congressional Committee Approves Military Reenlistment Waivers For Marijuana Use... ...... "Gallego said he introduced the amendment because he was approached by a constituent who served in the Marine Corps, took leave to study law and later returned to a military recruitment office where he was asked about his cannabis use. When he admitted to consuming marijuana once in a state where it’s legal, the recruitment officer told him he could either walk away or lie about the experience. “This discrepancy between the services is unnecessary and it’s just bad policy,” the congressman said. “In the time when the services have had trouble recruiting, we’re turning excellent candidates with stellar prior records in uniform away in a haphazard, arbitrary manner.” He also said there’s “ample evidence that the social and personal consequences are far worse for alcohol use than for marijuana use.”....It seems that some people are able to see beyond the propaganda but the system keeps grinding up people, destroying lives with legal punishments that far outweigh the harms of cannabis.

I may have to partially backpedal on my homegrown comments. It seems that autoflowering strains have changed the game somewhat.

Screw the pot, Ms. Fried! How about expanding and diversifying Florida's economy to develop much better, higher-quality, better-paying, white-collar jobs than are currently available in this state? Agriculture is a waste of time ... and growing pot is worse!

How can I get the medical marijuana? Thank you Deborah Shinners 111 Meadow Circle Ellenton Florida 34222 813-362-8144

learn more at and

Morgan and Morgan..... pot heads for the people.

Do you have his phone number? Just kidding, I used to think Mr. Morgan was a pretty good man for getting behind the medical cannabis movement in Florida, but now I am having second thoughts, seeing how he is supporting Biden the one who is responsible for this war on drugged people.

The agriculture position isn't about creating white collar jobs. It's about protecting consumers from the agricultural industry. They are task with ensuring your restaurants are up to code.

Comments are now closed.

Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.