US (FL): Court wades into medical marijuana dispute with orchid grower

A Tampa-based orchid grower seeking to enter Florida’s highly restricted medical-marijuana market tried to convince a state appeals court Tuesday that health officials erred in granting a handful of medical-marijuana licenses to competing firms last year.

Louis Del Favero Orchids, Inc. is challenging a settlement agreement between the Florida Department of Health and what are known within the industry as “one-pointers.”

The agreement, finalized in April, provided licenses to eight firms but reduced the remaining licenses that were expected to be available under a 2017 law. That law was aimed at implementing a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Del Favero argues, among other things, that the settlement was unfair and contrary to public policy because it “contravenes the legislative intent” of the 2017 law.

Under the law, health officials have to give special preference for up to two licenses to applicants that “own one or more facilities that are, or were, used for the canning, concentrating, or otherwise processing of citrus fruit or citrus molasses and will use or convert the facility or facilities for the processing of marijuana.” Following passage of the law, Del Favero spent $770,000 to purchase property in Pinellas County that met the requirements for the citrus preference.

Read more at Creative Loafing (Dara Kam)

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