A Central Florida nursery and a trade association this week filed legal challenges to a state Department of Health proposal to carry out a new law allowing limited types of medical marijuana.
This comes as lawmakers have expressed impatience with the delays in carrying out the 2014 law allowing the types of medical marijuana. It spurred the Senate Regulated Industries Committee this week to approve a bill (SB 7066) aimed at jump-starting the process.
But at the state Division of Administrative Hearings, the new challenges take issue with a proposed rule that would create a regulatory framework for the medical-marijuana industry. Another challenge was filed earlier this month by an attorney for a 4-year-old child with an inoperable brain tumor.
One of the new challenges was filed by Baywood Nurseries Co., Inc., an Apopka firm, and its part-owner Master Growers, P.A. The other challenge was filed by the Medical Cannabis Trade Association of Florida, LLC.
They take issue, at least in part, with the way the Department of Health plans to select five "dispensing organizations," which would grow, process and dispense the types of cannabis that are low in euphoria-inducing tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and high in cannabadiol, or CBD.
The Baywood Nurseries challenge contends that the department would use a scoring system that "is a subjective and unfair process." The Department of Health last year proposed using a lottery-type system to choose the dispensing organizations, but an administrative law judge rejected that proposal in November.
"While an applicant lottery may have offended the tenets of the (medical marijuana) act, a politically-motivated, unfairly skewed applicant 'scoring system' is equally as ineffective and improper and will lead to only the wealthiest, most politically-connected applicants becoming dispensing organizations, rather than those entities that are most informed, capable, and qualified,'' Baywood Nurseries' challenge said.
Both new cases were assigned Thursday to Administrative Law Judge W. David Watkins.