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Circuit Court Ruling Could Allow DOH to Issue More Marijuana Growers Licences

December 29th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
State law required at least one medical marijuana license go to a member of the Black Farmers Association, but a circuit court judge has blocked the license. The ruling found, because the law required an applicant to be a member of a specific association, it unconstitutionally favored a private corporation.
Jeff Sharkey with the Medical Marijuana Business Association says the Black Farmers  Association prevented other black farmers who otherwise would have qualified for the license from joining.
“And in fact discriminated against other black farmers,” said Sharkey.
At legislative meetings in October, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s Director blamed the lawsuit for delaying the issuance of 5 new licenses by an October 3rd deadline.
At the time, State Senator Dana Young argued the Department’s decision to delay the application process was hurting patients.
“There are a lot of sick Floridians that have been waiting for this medication to be available that are suffering because of it,” said Young.
The Department of Health says it’s reviewing the latest ruling, to determine if it can now issue the licenses that should have been awarded two months ago.
Sharkey says he believes it can and should. With over 63,000 patients, he says the budding industry needs all the growers it can get.
“Hopefully moving forward and selecting new licensees will put more product in the marketplace,” said Sharkey.
Other legal challenges are still pending including a suit challenging a preference for citrus growers to receive a license as well as a lawsuit to allow smokable marijuana.
There are currently 13 licensed treatment centers, with 25 dispensing locations around the state.

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