State Moves Forward With Medical Pot Despite Challenges « Cbs Miami

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. In a press release, the company said it plans to have cannabis products on the shelves as early as June. Privately, some of the lawyers involved in the process are questioning whether the department even has the authority to move forward until the administrative complaints are resolved. The administrative law judges have scheduled hearings during which they will conduct a comparative review of the applications, essentially recreating the process the three-member panel underwent to select one dispensing organization in each of five regions throughout the state. The judges could overturn the decisions made by the departments selection panel, which in turn would likely spark an appeal, meaning the legal challenges could drag on for months, if not years. Aside from tweaking laws governing administrative procedures, lawmakers could appoint a special master to oversee the application process, said Rep. Matt Gaetz, a Fort Walton Beach Republican who pushed for the 2014 law, which passed after heavy lobbying by parents of children with severe forms of epilepsy.

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