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Court to weigh House role in pot case

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House’s attempt to intervene in a high-stakes case about medical marijuana will go before a state appeals court in July. The 1st District Court of Appeal on Tuesday issued an order that said it will hear arguments July 16 in the House’s appeal of a circuit judge’s ruling.

The House is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit filed by the Tampa-based firm Florigrown, which argues that a 2017 law violates a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.

Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson last year rejected the House’s intervention request.

Dodson last year also issued a temporary injunction in the underlying lawsuit and ordered the state Department of Health to register Florigrown and other medical-marijuana firms to do business in the state.

The Florida Department of Health has appealed that injunction, with a hearing scheduled June 11 at the 1st District Court of Appeal.

The Legislature passed the 2017 law to carry out the constitutional amendment, which was approved by voters in November 2016. But the law has faced a series of legal challenges because it includes restrictions on issues such as the number of medical-marijuana firms that can be approved to operate.

The House last week also went to the appeals court as it seeks to intervene in a similar case filed by Patients and Producers Alliance, Inc., against the Department of Health.

Dodson last month rejected House intervention in that case.