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June arguments set in medical marijuana battle

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – A Tallahassee-based appeals court will hear arguments June 11 in a battle about whether lawmakers and the Florida Department of Health violated a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

The 1st District Court of Appeal issued an order Monday scheduling the oral arguments. The Department of Health went to the appeals court in October after Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson sided with the Tampa-based firm Florigrown in a dispute about how the state is carrying out the constitutional amendment.

Dodson found that a 2017 law was unconstitutional and issued a temporary injunction requiring state health officials to begin registering Florigrown and other medical-marijuana firms to do business.

Dodson’s ruling targeted parts of the law that placed caps on the number of medical-marijuana licenses and dealt with issues such as the creation of a “vertical integration” system that requires marijuana operators to grow, process and sell medical marijuana -- as opposed to businesses being licensed to play different roles in the industry.

The case could open the door to more firms doing business in Florida’s fast-growing medical marijuana market.

Florigrown, for example, filed the lawsuit after being denied approval by the Department of Health.