Florida nursery still fighting for license + first CBD harvest

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(Correction: This brief originally stated that Loop’s Nursery received the top score in the northeast region of the state, but that the permit was given to Chestnut Hill Tree Farm instead. That was inaccurate.)

Florida’s haphazard CBD industry is technically up and running now that its first-ever harvest has taken place, but in the meantime a legal battle remains underway over a potential new licensee that wants the right to grow cannabis.

The harvest, completed at a facility run by Surterra Therapeutics, is the first of many to come from the six currently licensed companies allowed to produce CBD in the state, the Associated Press reported. Surterra and its peers are all poised to expand rapidly if Amendment 2, a pro-medical marijuana ballot initiative, succeeds in the November general election.

Jacksonville-based Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses is aiming to be the seventh licensee, according to the News Service of Florida. To that end, it sued the state, alleging that it was unfairly denied one of the original five permits awarded in November 2015.

Loop’s Nursery was given the highest score in the region by the director of Florida’s Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use, the News Service reported, but Chestnut Hill Tree Farm initially received the top score and received the permit. Upon review, it was determined that a competitor, San Felasco Nurseries, had actually received the top score in the region and been wrongly disqualified, and that company was granted a license by an administrative judge.

If Loop’s Nursery wins the case and gets a license, it could potentially get a leg up on any future MMJ competitors, should Amendment 2 succeed.

On top of that, because of other nursery challenges are still waiting to be heard – and because of a new law that allows the state to license more CBD producers if the number of patients exceeds 250,000 – the number of pre-Amendment 2 licensees could get as high as 12.