Judge urges state to grant medical-marijuana license to South Florida nursery

Accusing Florida health officials of a “colossal blunder” that created a “dumpster fire,” an administrative law judge recommended that the state grant a highly sought-after medical marijuana license to a South Florida nursery.

Judge John Van Laningham’s recommended order scalded the state Office of Medical Marijuana Use for using a flawed system to decide which applicants should receive the coveted licenses.

Friday’s lengthy order in favor of Nature’s Way Nursery of Miami, Inc. accompanied a separate order in which Van Laningham scrapped an emergency rule crafted by the Florida Department of Health following the passage of a 2017 law aimed at implementing a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Van Laningham’s decisions echoed and expanded on his previous fault-finding about an application-scoring process and are the latest in what has evolved into a power struggle between health officials and the administrative law judge over medical marijuana.

Florida medical marijuana operation sold for $53 million

A California-based company has bought a Florida medical marijuana operation for $53 million in the latest transaction in what investors hope will be among the nation’s most-lucrative medical pot markets.

Under the agreement, the company MedMen will acquire Treadwell Nursery’s five-acre cultivation…

Last year, lawyers representing the health department made a rare — and futile — attempt at trying to get Van Laningham removed from a separate marijuana case.

Van Laningham’s 116-page decision Friday about Nature’s Way was rooted in the 2017 law and the health department’s original process to grant five licenses after the Legislature legalized non-euphoric medical marijuana in 2014.

Under the new law, approved during a special legislative session last summer, health officials were required to issue licenses to applicants who had legal challenges

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