Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use, Courtney Coppola, in her official capacity as Director of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, Celeste Philip, M.D., M.P.H., in her official capacity as State Surgeon General and Secretary of the Florida Department of Health, and The State of Florida, Appellants,
Florigrown, LLC, a Florida limited liability company and Voice of Freedom, Inc., d/b/a Florigrown, Appellees.
final until disposition of any timely and authorized motion
under Fla. R. App. P. 9.330 or 9.331.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Leon County. Charles W.
Gonzalez, Rachel Nordby, and Amber Stoner Nunnally of Shutts
& Bowen LLP, Tallahassee, for Appellants.
Katherine E. Giddings, BCS of Akerman LLP, Tallahassee,
Jonathan S. Robbins of Akerman LLP, Fort Lauderdale, Ari H.
Gerstin of Akerman LLP, Miami, and Luke Lirot, Clearwater,
Department of Health (Department) challenges the trial
court's entry of a temporary injunction which:
(1) immediately enjoin[ed] the Department of Health from
registering or licensing any [Medical Marijuana Treatment
Centers] pursuant to the unconstitutional legislative scheme
set forth in Section 381.986, Florida Statutes, (2)
requir[ed] the Department by 5:00 PM Friday, October 19, 2018
to commence registering MMTCs in accordance with the plain
language of the Medical Marijuana Amendment, and (3)
requir[ed] the Department to register F1origrown as an MMTC
by 5:00 PM Friday, October 19, 2018, unless the Department
c[ould] clearly demonstrate  that such registration would
result in unsafe use of medical marijuana by qualifying
determine that certain aspects of the injunction are
overbroad and unsupported by the evidence and factual
findings. We, however, uphold the injunction to the extent it
requires the Department to consider Florigrown's request
for licensure without applying the portions of the statutory
scheme which this opinion identifies as being
2016, voters amended the Florida Constitution to protect the
production, possession, and use of medical marijuana. Art. X,
§ 29, Fla. Const. The amendment went into effect on
January 3, 2017, and states, in relevant part:
(b)(5) "Medical Marijuana Treatment Center" (MMTC)
means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses,
processes (including development of related products such as
food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers,
transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers
marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies,
or educational materials to qualifying patients or their
caregivers and is registered by the Department.
. . . .
(d) The Department shall issue reasonable regulations
necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this
section. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure the
availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying
patients. It is the duty of the Department to promulgate
regulations in a timely fashion.
(1) Implementing Regulations. In order to allow the
Department sufficient time after passage of this section, the
following regulations shall be promulgated no later than six
(6) months after the effective date of this section:
. . . .
(3) If the Department does not issue regulations, or if the
Department does not begin issuing identification cards and
registering MMTCs within the time limits set in this section,
any Florida citizen shall have standing to seek judicial
relief to compel compliance with the Department's
Art. X, § 29(b)(5) and (d)(1), (3), Fla. Const.
weeks after the amendment went into effect, appellee sent the
Department a letter seeking to register as an MMTC. The
Department denied the request because it had not yet
promulgated any regulations pursuant to the amendment.
2017, the Legislature passed a bill later signed by the
governor amending section 381.986, Florida Statutes, which
set forth a statutory framework for the registration of MMTCs
• Directing the Department to convert the existing
licenses of low-THC and medical cannabis dispensing
organizations into MMTC licenses so long as the organizations
still maintained all of the criteria set forth in section
381.986(8)(a)1., Florida Statutes.
• Providing for ten additional MMTC licenses for
applicants that were (1) previously denied a dispensing
organization license under the prior version of section
381.986 so long as the organization had a pending a judicial
or administrative challenge pending as of January 1, 2017, or
had a final ranking within one point of the highest final
ranking in its region; (2) in compliance with the
requirements of the amended statute; and (3) able to provide
the Department with documentation that ...