Potential Pot Dispensary Sues Over Licensing

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An Alachua company looking to gain medical marijuana dispensary rights filed a lawsuit Wednesday to avoid roadblocks in the cultivation and dispensary process in Northeast Florida.

The 12-page lawsuit by Chestnut Hill Tree Farm was filed in the Leon County Circuit Court after an administrative law judge last week indicated that licenses issued by the Florida Department of Health aren’t final until administrative challenges are resolved.

Chestnut Hill was selected as the dispensing organization for Northeast Florida in November after the passing of a 2014 law allowed the use of limited types of cannabis that don’t get users high, according to News Service of Florida. Implementation of the law is more than a year behind schedule because of legal challenges.

“There is no precedent or legal reason to stop this process from moving forward, and Chestnut Hill is more than ready and able to deliver this medicine in a timely manner and in accordance with the award,” said John Lockwood, attorney for Chestnut Hill.

Since being approved, Chestnut Hill has taken significant steps to prepare itself for medicinal delivery. It posted a $5 million performance bond with the DOH, made infrastructure changes including a 10,000-square foot greenhouse and a 4,000-square foot headhouse, installed a security system and attained plants of multiple low-THC strains to start propagation.

The complaint asks the judge to recognize that Chesnut Hill’s license is final and it can begin growing low-THC marijuana, according to News Service of Florida.

Lockwood said the lawsuit was filed to resolve doubt about the obligations of the nursery and the Department of Health.

“Chesnut Hill has done their due diligence and has aptly won the approval to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana in Northeast Florida,” Lockwood said.

About Glenn Kennelly

Glenn is a senior journalism major at UF. He has written for The Gainesville Sun and the Independent Florida Alligator.

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