Will Florida have two more options when it comes to medical marijuana?
According to an administrative law judge, yes.
Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham release his long-awaited ruling related to Plants of Ruskin and Tornello Landscape, also known as “3 Boys Farm.”
According to Judge Van Laningham’s almost 110 page recommended order that’s been sent to the Department of Health, Plants of Ruskin and Tornello Landscape should have also been allowed to open dispensaries along with the seven other approved dispensaries.
According to the judge, the judge is ordering the Department of Health to issue the two licenses to dispense medical marijuana because both Plants of Ruskin and Tornello Landscapes met all of the qualifications set by the state and should have qualified the first time.
Judge Van Laningham was critical of the Health Department’s selection process of the applications, stating officials “did not score them” per the agency’s own rules. The judge says the applicants were “merely ranked,” hence the two applicants were not granted licenses that would allow them to grow and distribute.
Judge Van Laningham’s order is the result of a complaint filed by the two nurseries, Plants of Ruskin and Tornello Landscape. They claimed another nursery, Surterra, should not have been allowed to process and dispense in the Southwest region of Florida.
Brad Dalton, Department of Health spokesman, wrote an email that the agency is reviewing the court’s order and will determine the next steps.
The department is most likely taking into account that state officials have taken a hard line that state law prohibts the Department of Health from issuing more thany one new license in each of the state’s five regions.
Robert Tornello, President Tornello Landscape, known as 3 Boys Farm, said, “We have always believed 3 Boys Farm would prevail, and we are so proud of the incredible people who’ve stood alongside us all these months, never giving in. But we’re pleased that the judge recognized that both 3 Boys and Plants of Ruskin were qualified to grow medical cannabis in Florida.”
During this past session, Lawmakers failed to approve legislation for the constitutional amendment that was passed by more than 70% by Florida voters. Now, Tallahassee is awaiting word on a possible special session to deal with implementing the constitutional amendment.