Judge recommends Florida issue two new medical marijuana licenses

A Florida judge issued a ruling recommending that the state’s health department issue two new licenses for the state’s CBD-focused medical marijuana program, saying the pair’s original applications were rejected under unfair circumstances.

The judge said the two companies’ applications were, in fact, virtually tied with that of the eventual winner. The recommendation would raise the number of licensees in the state from seven to nine.

Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham said the Florida Department of Health should have awarded licenses to Tornello Landscape, also known as 3 Boys, and Plants of Ruskin when they and nearly 30 other companies applied for licenses under the state’s current CBD-focused program, the News Service of Florida reported.

The health department said it is evaluating the judge’s non-binding recommendation.

When the original licenses were awarded, Plants of Ruskin and 3 Boys lost in the application process to Alphia Foliage, known as Surterra Therapeutics.

However, Van Laningham determined the three companies were virtually tied. The judge said Surterra should have been ineligible for a license because the company later changed owners, the News Service of Florida reported.

Even if the health department concurs with the judge’s recommendation, Surterra’s license will be unaffected.

Florida’s MMJ business licenses have become more valuable after voters passed a more expansive medical marijuana referendum last November to dramatically increase the number of patients who can be served as well as the types of cannabis and products that can be offered.