Nursery Files Lawsuit to Continue Cultivation of Marijuana

An Alachua County nursery filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Leon County Circuit Court to prevent any delays in the cultivation and dispensing of medical marijuana in northeast Florida.   The Alachua County tree farm/nursery was one of five businesses granted a license last November by the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use to grow and dispense low-THC strains of marijuana.

Two organizations that did not win the license for northeast Florida have filed challenges with the Department of Administrative Hearings over how the licenses were awarded.  A representative for the tree farm cited in an emailed statement that the reason for the lawsuit is to eliminate the doubt and uncertainty created by the challenges.

The southeast is the only region without any administrative challenges, injunctions or stays on the process, and there is one license in that region.

There is a challenge pending in the southwest region, and the nursery with the license in that region has asked for a stay in the process, but an administrative judge ruled last Friday that DOAH can’t stop the process.  Judge John G. Van Laningham did say that licenses are not final until the administrative challenges are complete.

The five licensees have until Feb. 7 to request cultivation authorization.  One of the nursery owners said before the Senate’s Regulated Industries Committee on Jan. 14 that the nursery is on pace to meet that deadline and should be able to dispense by late summer.  He further stated that his nursery will have a dispensary close to a hospital in Gainesville along with home delivery across the state.

Christian Bax, the director of the Office of Compassionate Use, said during a hearing that one of the five nurseries has issues with its $5 million performance bond and that the license could be revoked if not rectified.  Mara Gambineri with the Department of Health told the Associated Press that the organization is in the central region.  Gambineri said the department was notified that the bond was going to be revoked in March and they are now working to resolve the situation.