Confused by the various letters and lawsuits regarding Florida Department of Health’s Proposed Rule 64-4 in order to implement the “Charlotte’s Web” law, Florida Statute 381.986?
Here is an overview of the developments over the last month and an overview of the three suits:
As you likely know, the Florida Department of Health is currently facing three rule challenge petitions directed at the DOH Proposed Rule 64-4.
Before we get to the suits, a brief recap is appropriate since the petitions appear to rely on, if not relate to, the same or very similar predicate claims.
Recall, just prior to an early March 2015 Rule Hearing, the Chief Attorney of the Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC) sent a lengthy letter setting out various claimed deficiencies in the Proposed Rule. The DOH responded the next day with its response letter and maintained that the Proposed Rule was final. Nothing changed at the March 2, 2015 Rule Hearing. Nonetheless, the JAPC letter may be the Q Source origin of many of the rule challenge arguments.
BARNHART CHALLENGE: As we previously reported, the first challenge was Barnhart v. DOH (“Canna-Mom Case” or “Barnhart”), filed March 11. That Petition is here. It is set for hearing on April 14, 2015 before ALJ McArthur. The DOHfiled a motion for additional hearing time which requests that the hearing run April 14-15 (petitioner did not oppose).
Today, the DOH filed a Motion to Dismiss, which is here, alleging that the Barnhart petitioner lacked standing. The Court held that, “due to the expedited nature of this proceeding and the importance of addressing this threshold question,” the Petitioner has until Monday, March 30 to respond to DOH’s motion. That order is here.
MEDICAL CANNABIS TRADE ASSOC: Next, there is Medical Cannabis Trade Assoc. of Florida v. DOH (“MCTA”), filed March 24. That Petition is here. The DOH’s lawyer has described this petition as challenging Proposed Rule 64.4.001-.002. It has been assigned to ALJ Watkins.
MASTER GROWERS ET AL: Finally, there is Master Growers, P.A. and Baywood Nurseries v. DOH (“Master Growers”), filed March 24. That Petition is here. The DOH’s lawyer notes that the Master Growers’ suit broadly challenges Proposed Rule 64-4.001 – .009. It has also been assigned to ALJ Watkins.
DOH’s counsel has requested that all three cases be consolidated in this March 26 letter. That certainly seems consistent with DOH’s Motion (filed three days prior) in Barnhart requesting that the hearing be extended to two days.