POLITICS

For embattled Charlotte's Web, 2 lawsuits down and 1 hanging on

By JOHN HOWELL The Daily Fray
April 25, 2015 1:57 pm

After a monthlong courtroom paper chase, one legal challenge is still standing against Charlotte’s Web medical marijuana and the state Department of Health. A lawsuit for a 4-year-old patient was dropped. And a case involving a secretive cannabis trade group withered quickly and was withdrawn.

On deck for a hearing Friday is Baywood Nurseries. The Apopka grower needs to show an administrative law judge that it is a legally viable business for Charlotte’s Web. The health department wants the case dismissed, claiming in part that Baywood did not meet a qualifying standard for growing 400,000 plants when it filed suit.

medicalpot (Medium).jpgBaywood is seeking a do-over by the Office of Compassionate Use. The grower claims that rules to grow, cultivate and dispense Charlotte's Web were tilted in favor of large growers and framed by policymakers with political ties and financial interests in medical marijuana.

The health department also challenged the legal standing of a 4-year-old girl who suffers neurological problems and is being treated with medical pot. The case was dismissed April 10 because attorneys for the girl declined to pursue the case.

The Medical Cannabis Trade Association of Florida bowed out grudgingly April 14, according to court papers. The group was incorporated in Delaware March 20, sued March 24, but was unwilling to identify its “substantial number of members” in multiple motions by the health department.

“Rather than comply with this order that MCTAF asserts violates its constitutional rights of privacy and association, MCTAF voluntarily dismisses its rule challenge,” attorneys wrote.

The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act was signed into law June 16, 2014.

The Office of Compassionate Use drafted rules in February after an original framework was thrown out in court last year. The rules govern how five businesses will be chosen to grow, process and sell Charlotte's Web, a low-THC extract.

The rules were shaped by a controversial panel, including nursery reps, patient advocates, and a Colorado grower who co-invented Charlotte's Web. The proposal withstood a 21-day period of public comment but was stalled in the latest round of lawsuits.

The lawsuit by Baywood and Master Growers says the "majority of Committee members, while certainly politically connected … were unfit to serve as alleged sources of reliable information, expertise, and industry input.

"In addition, the majority of Committee members failed to serve the overall interests of all applicants [and] instead the majority … appeared to be motivated by their own political, financial, and business goals."


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