After nearly a year of litigation against state Department of Health, a Central Florida nursery has been issued a medical cannabis license, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. McCrory’s Sunny Hill Nursery was initially denied a license after losing out to a competitor by a fraction of a percentage point, which was recorded in error by one of the reviewers on the state’s three-member licensing panel.
The Central region originally had seven applicants, and the three-member panel was tasked with scoring each applicant — the winner of the license would have the highest score. During the process, McCrory’s was given an aggregate score of 5.5417, while Knox Nursery was scored 5.5458. McCrory’s argued that one of the reviewers identified the nursery as “superior to all other applicants” but gave the nursery a “6” score instead of a “7,” which was inconsistent and done in error. If the score had been accurate — a 7 — McCrory’s would have outscored Knox and been granted the license.
The deal between the Health Department and McCrory’s was struck before Administrative Law Judge Elizabeth McArthur could issue a ruling. As part of the agreement the nursery promised to drop both administrative and court challenges and both sides agreed to pay their own legal fees and court costs.
Last year, McCrory’s teamed with three other Central Florida nurseries — Agri-Starks, Eve’s, and Peckett’s — under the GrowHealthy brand and purchased a 180,000-square-foot facility anticipating a license.
“I believe the state reviewed their case, and I believe that we had a high level of confidence that the judge would rule in our favor, and I believe that the state, after going through this process, agreed with us,” GrowHealthy CEO Don Clifford said in the report.
Four of Florida’s six licensed medical cannabis cultivators are currently producing the drug for terminally ill patients, as the provisions of the constitutional amendment approved during the General Election, which will expand the program, have yet to take effect.
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