Deceased farmer’s estate not entitled to Florida marijuana license, judge rules

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The estate of a Florida applicant for a medical marijuana cultivation license who died before receiving the permit should not receive it in his absence, an administrative judge ruled.

The heirs and partners of now-deceased Ocala farmer Moton Hopkins was among a group of spurned applicants who filed legal challenges last October against the health department’s selection process for an MMJ cultivation license reserved for a Black farmer.

Florida law specifically required that the license be granted to an applicant who was a recognized class member in the so-called “Pigford” class-action lawsuit.

The permit had been awarded a month earlier to Terry Donnell Gwinn of McAlpin, Florida, and Hopkins, 84 at the time, was among dozens of applicants.

“Not to be overly simplistic, but the only material fact bearing on this case is whether any of the petitioners listed in the style of this proceeding are ‘a recognized class member’ of the referenced litigation. They are not,” Administrative Law Judge Gary Early wrote in his decision, according to Law.com.

“The only recognized class member was Moton Hopkins, individually, and he is deceased. Thus, there is no living applicant to whom the license may be issued.”

The lawyer representing Hopkins’ estate told Law.com that they plan to appeal the decision to the Tallahassee-based 1st District Court of Appeal.