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Dep’t of Health announces new legal pot director

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In the wake of the exit of Patti Nelson — who had served at the helm of the state Department of Health’s nascent Office of Compassionate Use since its inception in 2014 — the agency named a replacement just two days later. Taking over for Nelson will be Christian Bax, who joins the office by way of CBK Consulting, a firm that the lawyer and MBA founded to facilitate medical cannabis programs akin to the one Florida enshrined into law in 2014. Bax…

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Compassionate Use director Patti Nelson leaving DOH

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Patricia “Patti” Nelson, who has led the Department of Health’s Office of Compassionate Use since its inception in 2014, is leaving the department and joining the Executive Office of the Governor, according to a DOH spokesman on Monday. “Patricia Nelson will be rejoining the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget,” read a response to an inquiry. “The Florida Department of Health is grateful for her service and wishes her well in her new position.” That leaves a key position unfilled…

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DOH announces 28 applicants for Charlotte’s Web licenses

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The Department of Health on Wednesday evening released the final list of commercial growers hoping to receive one of five state licenses to grow marijuana for use in Charlotte’s Web, a low-THC cannabis-derived drug that will treat Floridians with certain chronic or terminal illnesses. They are as follows, divided by region. The state will issue one license per region. Note that some large farms applied for more than one license. Northeast Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses, Inc., Bill’s Nursery, Inc. d/b/a Almond Tree…

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Final challenge to Florida medical marijuana rule dismissed, licensing could start by summer

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After months of legal wrangling and court battles, Florida is closer to allowing production of non-euphoric medical marijuana under the law known as “Charlotte’s Web” passed last year. On Wednesday, a Tallahassee administrative judge rejected the last challenge to the state’s draft rules. Judge David Watkins dismissed the claim by Baywood Nurseries of Apopka, which said the proposed rules on medical marijuana gives an unfair advantage to larger nurseries for the five medical marijuana growing licenses permitted by law. With Watkin’s…

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Final arguments heard in Charlotte’s Web challenge

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The latest challenge to proposed regulations for Florida’s medical marijuana law is in its final stage. Late Thursday, attorneys for the Department of Health and Baywood Nurseries filed proposed final orders with Judge W. David Watkins. The two sides repeated the arguments they made during a hearing last month. Baywood went into greater detail in its complaint about the makeup of a negotiated rulemaking committee, the lack of definitions for terms used, the absence of an appeals process for license revocation…

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Judge allows Charlotte’s Web rule challenge to continue

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Baywood Nurseries’ challenge to a proposed regulatory structure for a medicinal marijuana industry will move forward. Judge W. David Watkins, on Monday, rejected a Department of Health’s motion to dismiss the challenge based on the Apopka growers’ lack of standing. DOH had cited a 30-year-old ruling in a Medicaid case in which a challenge to a rule prohibiting payment for an abortion was rejected because the petitioner was not pregnant. DOH had argued that like, Alice P., Baywood lacked standing…

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Senate OKs health board appointees, but not Department of Health secretary

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The Senate on Wednesday approved appointees to the boards of medicine, nursing, podiatry,  dentistry, chiropractic medicine and physical therapy, among others, without fanfare. The boards are located within the Florida Department of Health and charged with regulating healthcare professionals. The Senate had not, however, moved to confirm the secretary of the Florida Department of Health, John Armstrong, M.D. Armstrong appeared before the Senate Health Policy Committee earlier this month but was not confirmed by the panel after refusing to answer questions…

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