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Joe Redner’s Florigrown files mammoth medical marijuana lawsuit

An epic 238-page lawsuit filed by Joe Redner‘s Florigrown company—replete with references to Encyclopedia Britannica, ancient Roman medical texts and the Nixon White House tapes—alleges that the state is failing its responsibility to carry out the people’s will when it comes to medical marijuana.

The complaint was filed Wednesday in Leon County Circuit Civil court against the Department of Health, its Office of Medical Marijuana Use and director Christian Bax, state Surgeon General Celeste Philip and Gov. Rick Scott.

The latest action adds to the growing amount of litigation over medical marijuana, which has state lawmakers concerned it’s interfering with the department’s ability to process vendor licenses and patient ID cards, among other things.

Chief among the many suits is another constitutional challenge from attorney John Morgan over lawmakers’ ban on smoking medicinal cannabis. Morgan was the main backer of the state constitutional amendment authorizing marijuana as medicine and approved by voters last year.

Florigrown, which had been denied the ability to be a medical marijuana treatment center, says the state is shirking its duties under the constitutional amendment passed last year that authorizes medical marijuana, and in regulating the drug under state law.

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Redner is a Tampa icon, who built an adult entertainment empire after acquiring the legendary Mons Venus club, then became a free speech advocate and frequent political candidate.

He also has been diagnosed with lung cancer and separately sued to be allowed to grow his own marijuana.

Redner’s business partner in Florigrown, Adam Elend, said the company is qualified and ready to supply medicinal cannabis.

“The department is confusing licensing with registering, which is a ministerial function,” he said. The Department of Health, like other agencies under Scott, does not comment on pending litigation. 

Elend added that caps on the number of licenses the state gives to vendors are unconstitutional “because the (state) is charged with creating regulations that guarantee access and the safe use of marijuana by qualifying patients.”

The state also carved out some special categories, such as preferences for black farmers and former citrus producers, which are the subject of other suits.

“There’s no process in place to open up the market,” Elend said.

The complaint and exhibits are below:

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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