Judge: Nursery may be able to pursue medical pot license under new law

o-MEDICAL-MARIJUANA

An administrative court judge is leaving open the possibility that a third nursery in Northeast Florida can receive a license to grow and dispense medical marijuana.

In an order Monday, Judge R. Bruce McKibben said Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses cannot challenge the licenses given to Chestnut Hill Tree Farm and San Felasco Nurseries. However, McKibben said the Jacksonville nursery can pursue approval of its own application under a new state law.

Gov. Rick Scott in March signed legislation that, among other things, allows five dispensing organizations that received Department of Health approval last year to keep their licenses. The law also calls on the Department of Health to issue licenses to applicants whose administrative challenges were successful.

The new law allows dispensing organization to grow full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients. Those dispensing organizations are also expected to be responsible for the products if a constitutional amendment to legalize marijuana for other medicinal purposes passes in November.

Thus far, San Felasco is the only nursery to win its challenge. In February, McKibben ruled the Department of Health wrongly disqualified San Felasco. The Gainesville-based nursery received the highest score in the region, and was issued a license in April.

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In his order Monday, McKibben said that a “clear reading of the new law is that both Chesnut and San Felasco have now been approved as dispensing organizations” in the northeast region. McKibben goes on to say that both organizations’ licenses have been “approved without further review.”

“Loop’s now finds itself in the position of being unable to challenge the approvals of Chestnut and San Felasco as dispensing organizations in the Northeast region,” wrote McKibben in his order.

McKibben said the nursery “may, however, pursue approval of its own application,” under the new law. He said if the nursery can show “it was entitled to be a dispensing organization in the instant proceeding, then it may also be approved.”

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Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster



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