By Dawn Geske | Aug 9, 2016

TALLAHASSEE – A nursery is in a dispute with lawmakers over obtaining a license to grow, process and distribute a strain know as Charlotte’s Web.

Loop’s Nursery is looking to garner a license to be a grower of a low-THC marijuana called Charlotte’s Web, which is medical-grade marijuana thought to reduce or eliminate seizures in children. Charlotte’s Web is brand of marijuana considered to be legal under the approved legislature by the state based in its low THC-levels.

Loop’s is seeking a license based on the fact that it has developed a relationship with the Colorado-based business that produces the strain and has 650,000-square-feet of greenhouse space it can dedicate to the plant. Loop’s was denied a license, which instead went to other growers in the state.

“Loop's recently presented facts to an independent administrative law judge charged with determining which applicant submitted the best application to be selected as a Florida dispensing organization in the state's northeast region,” John Moyle, attorney at Moyle Law Firm, told the Florida Record. “At trial, Loop's expert witnesses opined that Loop's was the most-qualified nursery in the northeast region. Importantly, the Department of Health's chief witness and corporate representative, Christian Bax, the Director of the Office of Compassionate Use, also testified that, in his view, Loop's submitted the best application in the Northeast region.”

Instead, licenses were granted to growers Chestnut Hill Tree Farm and San Felasco Nurseries. San Felasco was granted a license after being rejected initially. An administrative law judge ruled that the Department of Health wrongly prohibited the nursery from getting a license and granted one for the nursery. Licenses are determined by a three-member panel that ranks applications under the Department of Health.

“One competing applicant, a nursery that focuses on growing trees, is unfamiliar with large scale greenhouse operations that produce flowering plants, which is what cannabis is when cultivated,” said Moyle. “The other competing applicant in the northeast region grows primarily shrubs and submitted financial statements inferior to Loop's financial statements.”

Called into question for Loop’s was its affiliations with other businesses such as Loop’s Dispensaries, a separate organization, and Realm of Caring Florida, a nonprofit organization headed by Loop’s owner Holley Moseley. There was also Ray of Hope 4 Florida, where Loop’s owner, Peyton Moseley, is manager and has the exclusive rights to sell Charlotte’s Web.

Loop’s Attorney Moyle said the nursery will continue its fight to obtain a license to grow and sell Charlotte’s Web.

“If approved, Loop's would be the only Florida dispensing organization authorized to grow and dispense the effective cannabis strain known as Charlotte's Web,” said Moyle. “The parties will be submitting proposed orders for the court's consideration and it is expected that a decision will be issued in a couple of months or so.”

The Department of Health provided licenses for each of the five regions of Florida. The marijuana law is undergoing changes that will make it faster to obtain licenses. The law will also allow full-strength medical marijuana for terminally ill patients and will allow the five dispensaries in the state to keep their license.

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Chestnut Hill Tree Farm Florida Department of Health Loop's Nursery Moyle Law Firm San Felasco Nurseries

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