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Judge sides with Redner, chastises Florida officials over medical marijuana licenses

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knucklehead bob

In a harshly worded order scolding state officials for treating the Constitution “like a recommendation,” a Tallahassee judge Friday gave the Department of Health two weeks to begin registering new medical-marijuana operators or risk being found in contempt.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson, siding with Tampa-based Florigrown LLC, rebuked Gov. Rick Scott, the Scott administration and the Republican-dominated Legislature for failing to properly carry out a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Florigrown, owned in part by Tampa strip-club operator Joe Redner, filed the legal challenge after the Department of Health denied its application for a medical marijuana license.

Dodson’s Friday order followed an August decision in which the judge found that a 2017 law, aimed at implementing the amendment, is unconstitutional because, among other things, it caps the number of highly sought-after medical marijuana licenses health officials can issue.

Although he found the law unconstitutional two months ago, Dodson delayed a ruling on Florigrown’s motion for a temporary injunction to give health officials time to comply with his original findings.

Dodson ruled verbally from the bench Wednesday in favor of Florigrown, but Friday’s written order --- which the judge alone penned --- severely reprimanded state health officials for failing to follow his instructions.

When he issued the Aug. 2 order, Dodson “was hopeful” that the health department “would take action to cure the serious constitutional problems” he identified in the state law, the judge wrote in Friday’s 6-page order.

Instead, a lawyer for the state agency this week “essentially conceded … that for the purpose of this case there have been no significant changes in the department’s regulations” or its handling of Florigrown’s application, according to Dodson.

“In other words, the court order was ignored by defendants,” he wrote.

State health officials are in an “unfamiliar situation” because the Legislature has the authority to implement most constitutional amendments. But the medical marijuana amendment specifically gave the responsibility to the Department of Health “to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients,” Dodson noted.


The law passed by the Legislature during a 2017 special session provided “guidance” to the state agency, but it “was in several ways significantly inconsistent with the Constitution, as pointed out in the August 2 order,” the judge wrote.

In August, Dodson found the 2017 law unconstitutional because it requires marijuana operators licensed by the state to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana --- something known as “vertical integration” --- as opposed to breaking the activities into separate parts for licensure.

And the judge ruled that the law improperly restricted who could get licenses. The law ordered health officials to grant licenses to operators who were already up and running in Florida or who were involved in litigation as of Jan. 1, 2017. The law also required a license for a black farmer who meets certain conditions and set aside a preference for applicants with certain ties to the citrus industry.

“Thus, we have the department with specific duties placed on it by the Constitution, and the Legislature telling them incorrectly what to do, by statute. Nevertheless, the Constitution has very specific details in it. And the Constitution is the law of the land. The Constitution prevails over the statute,” he wrote.

Dodson’s order for a temporary injunction blocks the health department from moving forward with the application process laid out in the 2017 law and gives the state until 5 p.m. Oct. 19 to begin registering medical marijuana treatment centers “in accordance with the plain language of the Medical Marijuana Amendment.”

The judge also ordered the state to register Florigrown by 5 p.m. Oct. 19, unless the health department “can clearly demonstrate to this court that such registration would result in unsafe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients.”

Dodson also emphasized to the defendants --- the health department, the agency’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use and various state health officials --- “that this is a court order,” before concluding with a rare warning: “Willful violation of the court order may result in sanctions, which could include a finding of contempt of court.”

Department of Health spokesman Nick Van Der Linden said in an email that the agency is reviewing the order, noting that it “does not impact the availability of medical marijuana in Florida” to the state’s 170,000 qualified patients.

Redner and his legal team, however, hailed Dodson’s order and his choice of words.

“I think our Legislature, I think our governor, I think they’re lawless. They think they’re above the law. They won’t follow the law. And we’ll see now if this judge can put the fear of the judiciary in them and do what the Constitution says,” Redner told The News Service of Florida in a telephone interview.

Redner recently won another lawsuit against the health department, when a judge ruled that the 77-year-old can grow his own marijuana to “juice.” Redner’s doctors recommended juicing to prevent a recurrence of lung cancer. The state has appealed that decision.

Florigrown CEO Adam Eland called on Scott to order the health department to comply with the judge’s ruling.

“Is this governor going to ignore this court and obfuscate again, or is he going to stop with all this nonsense and do what he (Dodson) says?” Eland said.

But lawyer John Lockwood, who represents marijuana operators and others seeking licenses, said the judge’s order puts the health department in a difficult position.

“There is a very specific statute that directs them on how they must regulate this industry. If they were to ignore that legislation, they would open the agency up to even more significant litigation,” Lockwood told the News Service.

In Friday’s order, Dodson found Florigrown would suffer “irreparable harm” in the absence of the temporary injunction, and that the injunction “will serve the public interest,” which he said “was clearly stated” by the amendment’s approval by more than 70 percent of voters.

The amendment’s passage “makes it clear the Department of Health must do the matters required in it to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients.”

“The department has failed to do so,” he wrote, adding that the 2017 statute “is an unconstitutional attempt” to implement the amendment.

“The court is concerned the Constitution is being treated as just a recommendation. It cannot be. The Constitution is the law of the land --- the supreme law of our government, which we must all live by. The Medical Marijuana Amendment of the Constitution is specific. Much of that specificity is being ignored,” he scolded.



Edited by knucklehead bob

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dawn patrol

If you guys only knew what a complete tool Rick Scott is.....and he's just the tip of the spear of the complete and utter corruption in the state government down here.  


And yet no matter what he has done in the past before he was governor, and despite all the BS he has pulled while in office, old retired people vote for him like their lives depend on it.


If this POS gets elected to the Senate watch out, he's got his eye on the oval office.  


He is completely and totally evil.  Trump is a heart a narcissist who will be as evil as he is encouraged/manipulated to be.


Scott is a psychopath, he needs absolutely no encouragement whatsoever.  I've watched him in action for 8 years and every time I think he won't get worse he proves me wrong.


In a staged media event (think about the hurricane press conferences) he seems almost normal.  got his plaid shirt, jeans and Navy hat on and he seems like an OK guy.


Ask him why he's done nothing on the state's environmental issues, mass transportation, medical cannabis, medicare funding,  mass shootings or any other issue he doesn't care about and his robotic non answers are annoying and ultimately chilling.  He just does not give a single fuck EVER.


He was CEO of the heathcare company that was charged with the largest single medicare fraud in history, and when questioned in a deposition, pled the Fifth 75 times.


He spent $60 million of his own money in 2010 to win an office with an annual salary if $130K.


He's such a special asshole that he has his own website  https://www.rsiaa.com/


He's just one of the reasons we can't have nice things.......

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And yet this fuckwad Rick Scott  sits in judgement of others like me. Veteran, taxpayer , productive member of society.   This is just a microcosm of society as a whole, total disenfranchisement.

Edited by herbert

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dawn patrol

Good point @herbert, I missed that episode. 


There is so much messed up shit surrounding Scott and the legislature that I could make this a thousand word post and still probably not get to it all but here are just a few of his "Greatest  Hits"


Rick Scott Doesn’t Know How His Family Made $550 Million from One Transaction       http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/07/16/rick-scott-on-his-wealth-i-dont-know-how-they-invested-the-dollars/


Rick Scott Has Spent More Days Campaigning in His “NAVY” Hat than He Actually Spent in the Navy        https://www.mypalmbeachpost.com/news/gov-scott-navy-ball-cap-makes-this-navy-vet-want-barf/7DVkrm9IOXA27uPHqnp9tJ/


Rick Scott Gets Six-Figure Donations from a Private Prison Company Detaining Immigrants          https://www.politico.com/states/florida/story/2018/07/23/brian-ballard-bundles-nearly-100k-for-outsider-scott-522602


Rick Scott Tried and Failed to Stop College Students from Early Voting         https://www.rsiaa.com/2018/07/27/rick-scott-tried-and-failed-to-stop-college-students-from-early-voting/


Rick Scott Praises Trump in English Ads While Rejecting Trump in Spanish Ads        http://www.newsherald.com/news/20180820/rick-scott-sends-bilingual-message-hes-not-trump


Rick Scott is Using a Sham “Blind Trust” to Hide the Sources of His Wealth         https://www.rsiaa.com/2018/09/02/rick-scott-is-using-a-sham-blind-trust-to-hide-the-sources-of-his-wealth/


Rick Scott is Under Federal Investigation for Wasting Millions of Tax Dollars on Overpriced Hurricane Debris Companies      https://miami.cbslocal.com/2018/09/23/feds-launch-audit-keys-debris-contracts/


Rick Scott Is “A Model of Inconsistency as Florida Governor”        https://www.rsiaa.com/2018/09/27/rick-scott-is-a-model-of-inconsistency-as-florida-governor/


Rick Scott Threw Out Puerto Rican Evacuees from a Housing Meeting at a Church        https://www.wftv.com/video?videoId=735452814&videoVersion=1.0


Rick Scott’s Prisons Plan Cuts Substance Abuse and Mental Health Treatment to Balance Budget        http://www.tampabay.com/florida-politics/buzz/2018/05/06/florida-prisons-cut-programs-to-cover-28-million-deficit/


Rick Scott Plans to Fill State Jobs with His Inexperienced Cronies       https://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article210714584.html





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