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Nursery Loses Bid For Medical Marijuana License

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

The state Department of Health on Thursday issued a final order rejecting a Northeast Florida nursery's attempt to get a license to grow, process and dispense non-euphoric medical marijuana.

Surgeon General Celeste Philip, who serves as secretary of the Department of Health, signed a 36-page order that largely upheld a recommendation by an administrative law judge on the application by Loop's Nursery and Greenhouses, Inc. The case is rooted in a 2014 law that legalized non-euphoric cannabis for certain medical conditions. The law ordered the Department of Health to award one "dispensing organization" license in each of five regions of the state.

The department awarded a license in the Northeast region to Chestnut Hill Tree Farm and later granted a second license to San Felasco Nurseries after an administrative law judge ruled that San Felasco's application had been wrongly rejected. Loop's also sought a license in the region, but Administrative Law Judge R. Bruce McKibben issued a recommended order in October that said the application should be denied.

Under administrative law, the recommendation then went to the Department of Health for issuance of a final order.

Lawmakers last year expanded the 2014 law to allow full-strength marijuana for terminally ill patients. Voters in November approved a constitutional amendment that will expand access to full-strength cannabis for patients with a wide range of conditions.