On Wednesday, October 3, 2018, from the bench during a status conference Judge Dodson stated: “Another two months has passed, and I do believe now we’re at the point where Florigrown will suffer irreparable harm absent the entry of a temporary injunction and that, given the public interest that can’t be more clearly stated than the public stated in the medical marijuana amendment, that allowing this process and procedures going through by the department is not in the public interest.”
On October 5, 2018, the Judge put his decision in writing and granted Florigrown a temporary injunction immediately enjoining the Department “from registering or licensing any MMTCs pursuant to the unconstitutional legislative scheme” and also requiring the Department to commence registering MMTCs in accordance with the plain language of the Constitutional Amendment by 5:00 PM Friday, October 19, 2018.
In August, Judge Dodson declined to issue Florigrown a temporary injunction although he did rule that parts of the current licensing scheme are directly inconsistent with the Florida Constitution. The Judge pointed out that the statute is inconsistent with the Amendment for two main reasons, which are that there should not be a cap on the number of licenses and that vertical integration should not be required, but instead horizontal integration, allowing different businesses to cultivate and others to dispense/deliver marijuana. Additionally, the Judge stated that the licenses being granted to specified groups amounted to a special law.
Despite multiple findings in his August decision that the statute is unconstitutional, Dodson waited until Wednesday to issue the temporary injunction sought by Florigrown. It seemed as though the Judge was hopeful that the Department would move on issuing licenses within the two months before the status hearing conference. However, the Department was not able to move forward with issuing licenses due to a proposed rule challenge as well as a Joint Administrative Procedure Committee (“JAPC”) letter. To date, the Department has not appealed or requested a stay on the temporary injunction. However, it will come as a great surprise if the Department does actually begin registering MMTCs and not request a stay and/or appeal the temporary injunction.
We will continue to follow this case and keep you updated.