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Medical Marijuana Nursery Selection Facing Challenges, More Delays Possible

The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel

The deadline for challenges to the state’s newly approved list of medical marijuana growers was Monday. More than a dozen challenges have been filed.  

The five approved nurseries are Hackney Nursery Company, Chestnut Hill Tree Farm, Knox Nursery, Alpha Foliage, and Costa Nursery Farms. But at least 13 other challenges have come in to the Florida Department of Health, and  those challenges could lead to more delays for the state's fledging medical marijuana program.

One company,  San Felasco Nurseries, says the state misapplied a rule dealing with employee background checks, causing it to lose out on a contract. One of its employees had a misdemeanor drug possession charge that was expunged.

Perkins and TropiFlora have also filed challenges.

According to the News Service of Florida, TropiFlora is accusing the Florida Department of Health of  rejecting its application due to a financial paperwork dispute. The excluded nurseries also say some of the winners had an unfair advantage because four of them served on the rule-making committee.

Florida’s path toward a non-euphoric strain of marijuana has been filled with legal challenges. The law authorizing the strain came with a January 2015 start date. But the medication--mostly for terminally  and severely ill Floridians,  is a year overdue  because of wrangling over how nurseries would be selected. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.