State Moves Forward With Medical Pot Despite Challenges « Cbs Miami

But frustrated lawmakers who were instrumental in passage of a 2014 law that legalized low-THC marijuana for patients with severe muscle spasms or cancer are exploring options to speed up the process of getting the cannabis products on the market. Senate Regulated Industries Chairman Rob Bradley, whose committee is scheduled to get an update from the Department of Health on Wednesday, said he is interested in creating an alternative administrative procedural system to deal with challenges to the licenses already awarded by the agency. This has gone on too long, he said, blaming the losing applicants for dragging out the process. Thirteen challenges to the licenses have been divided among five administrative law judges, with hearings in the cases slated from March through the end of July, according to documents filed with the Division of Administrative Hearings. None of the challengers has asked for an injunction to prevent the process from moving forward, and health officials are continuing with next months deadline, Gambineri said. But the agencys decision to keep the process moving despite the possibility that the licenses could be overturned has created angst for winners and losers in the highly competitive medical marijuana arena in Florida, with millions of dollars in start-up and operational costs at stake. This has put many people in a very awkward situation, Louis Rotundo, a lobbyist who represents the Florida Medical Cannabis Association and has a minor interest in at least two applicants, said. Millions of dollars are at risk, potentially, with no guarantee that, at the end of this process, youll still be the license holder. It is unknown whether any of the losing applicants will seek to halt the process before the Feb. 7 deadline, but it is almost certain that none of the five winners will do so, despite the uncertainty. While the low-THC form of cannabis is a relatively limited market, companies with the licenses could have a toehold for more-lucrative sales of medical marijuana if a broad ballot initiative passes in November. Southwest region winner Alpha Foliage, affiliated with Surterra Therapeutics, applied Monday for authorization to begin growing.

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