TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – In what could be addition adjournment for Florida’s beginning medical-marijuana industry, a Tallahassee adjudicator agreed Wednesday to block accompaniment bloom admiral from affective advanced with the appliance action for awful accustomed medical marijuana licenses.
Leon County Circuit Adjudicator Charles Dodson’s exact adjustment during a audition came about two months afterwards he activate that a accompaniment law, anesthetized during a appropriate aldermanic affair aftermost year, runs afield of a built-in alteration broadly legalizing medical marijuana.
In August, Dodson disqualified that a cap on the cardinal of medical marijuana operators included in the law “directly contradicts” the amendment, which was overwhelmingly accustomed by voters in 2016.
Dodson additionally absitively that the 2017 law is actionable because it requires marijuana operators accountant by the accompaniment to cultivate, process, and allocate medical marijuana — article accepted as “vertical integration” — as adjoin to breaking the activities into abstracted genitalia for licensure.
And the adjudicator disqualified that the accompaniment break belted who could get licenses. The law ordered bloom admiral to admission licenses to operators who were already up and active in Florida or who were complex in action as of Jan. 1, 2017. The law additionally appropriate a authorization for a atramentous agriculturalist who meets assertive altitude and set a a alternative for applicants with assertive ties to the citrus industry.
The citrus and black-farmer accoutrement amounted to what is accepted as a “special” law, Dodson disqualified in August. The adjudicator activate the 2017 law restricts rights accepted beneath the Constitution and that plaintiff Florigrown LLC “has a abundant likelihood of success” in its affirmation that the law conflicts with the amendment.
Despite assorted allegation in his August accommodation that the statute is unconstitutional, Dodson waited until Wednesday to affair the acting admonition accustomed by Florigrown, a aggregation that was angry bottomward for a license. Florigrown is partly endemic by Tampa strip-club abettor Joe Redner, who afresh won addition cardinal adjoin accompaniment bloom admiral in a case in which he is gluttonous to abound his own marijuana to “juice,” article the 77-year-old’s doctors acclaim to anticipate a ceremony of lung cancer. The accompaniment has appealed the cardinal in the beforehand case.
“It’s acceptable account for me. It’s acceptable account for Florigrown. It’s acceptable account for the patients and the Constitution of the accompaniment of Florida,” Redner said in an account afterward Wednesday’s hearing.
In August, the adjudicator set a Wednesday borderline for bloom admiral or the Legislature to dness the deficiencies with the law. Wednesday apparent one year afterwards a borderline imposed by the built-in alteration for bloom admiral to activate arising identification cards to patients who authorize for medical marijuana.
“Another two months has passed, and I do accept now we’re at the point area Florigrown will ache irreparable abuse absent the admission of a acting admonition and that, accustomed the accessible absorption that can’t be added acutely declared than the accessible declared in the medical marijuana amendment, that acceptance this action and procedures activity through by the administration is not in the accessible interest,” Dodson said Wednesday.
Luke Lirot, a advocate apery Florigrown, accused bloom admiral of accepting “ignored this court’s observations … with impunity.”
“It’s absolutely candidly abominable that the cloister would affair an adjustment and it would be so robustly abandoned by the Administration of Bloom afterwards there was a bright adumbration that they bare to do something,” he said.
But Dodson appeared to ache with the asperity of accompaniment bloom officials, adage they were in an “unusual situation” aggravating to chase an actionable statute.
In a video recording of an August rules audition played by Florigrown’s attorneys Wednesday, accompaniment Office of Medical Marijuana Use Director Courtney Coppola said she was “following the law” by affective advanced with the appliance action for four new licenses.
“What Miss Coppola was adage was, we’re afterward the statute, which is what agencies commonly are appropriate to do, but the statute is aloof unconstitutional,” the adjudicator said. “I’m abiding the Legislature was aggravating its best to accede with the Constitution, but they aloof didn’t do that in this circumstance.”
Dodson said he would affair a accounting adjustment acceding the acting admonition by Friday and set a Nov. 16 audition to accede arbitrary acumen in the case.
Health admiral said they will analysis Dodson’s adjustment back it is issued.
“This cardinal does not appulse the availability of medical marijuana in Florida. Low-THC and medical marijuana has been and continues to be accessible to the added than 160,000 able patients by added than 1,500 able physicians through 14 accustomed medical marijuana analysis centers in 55 locations,” bureau agent Nick Van Der Linden said in an email.
But Dodson’s cardinal “blocks the Florida Administration of Bloom from proceeding advanced with the appliance action for added medical marijuana analysis centermost licenses, over the 14 that accept already been issued,” Ari Gerstin, a advocate who represents Florigrown and who alternate in Wednesday’s audition by telephone, told The Account Service of Florida.
The action of accepting new authorization applications is already delayed because of a aphorism challenge. The bloom bureau is additionally fending off at atomic six authoritative challenges filed by ambitious operators who’ve been angry bottomward for licenses.
After the hearing, Lirot accused accompaniment admiral of “doing aggregate they can to avert admission to an important medication.”
“I mean, what they’re accomplishing is based to me added on brake and avidity than it is on compassion, which is what this is all about,” he told The Account Service of Florida.
Redner was alike added blunt.
“They’re like bad-tempered children. They aloof debris to do the appropriate thing,” he said.
News Service of Florida
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