Cannabis Rules Challenge: State Lawyer Says Chosen Growers Will Be 'Good Enough'

Oct 15, 2014

Department of Health lawyer Jennifer Tschetter defended the lottery system during two days of hearings in Tallahassee.
Credit The Florida Channel

For the second day in a row, a Tallahassee administrative court heard a challenge against Florida’s proposed rules governing non-smoked, low-THC medical marijuana. Two farms and a trade group are trying to change the process for choosing the state’s five suppliers. The rulemaking is authorized under this year's Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act, which permits patients to use cannabis that doesn't induce a high. 

Growers are challenging, among other parts of the rules, a proposed lottery system. Florida Department of Health lawyer Jennifer Tschetter maintains an elaborate scorecard ranking hopeful marijuana growers would be impossible under the time constraints. The law requires the department to authorize establishment of five growing operations by January.

Tschetter defended a lottery system like this: “We’re choosing really great applicants. I know that. We have developed substantive criteria that ensure that the dispensing organizations that are selected are going to be good enough.”

She adds it doesn’t matter whether a farm owner believes his farm is better than others.

Meanwhile, the rules’ challengers are trying to prove the lottery system is unfair to growers and bad for patients who have only five suppliers to choose from.

The hearings concluded Wednesday, Oct. 15. Judge David Watkins has 30 days to make a ruling.