December 24, 2015

How were Medical Marijuana Nurseries Chosen in Florida? Medical Marijuana on Trial in Hillsborough County Florida

cannabis, dispensing facility, Dispensing Organization
A Hillsborough County business has
challenged the issuance of
medical marijuana
nursery licenses in Florida. 
A Hillsborough County business has challenged the issuance of medical marijuana nursery licenses in Florida. Plants of Ruskin claims it "provided sufficient information in its Application demonstrating entitlement to the requested license pursuant to Chapter 64, FAC.” The grower claims  “arbitrary scoring of  applications” was the cause of its demise. The grower claims that if the scoring had been fair, they would have been scored higher than the other nurseries.

How were Medical Marijuana Nurseries Chosen in Florida?


The selection was based upon a lengthy scorecard that rated and scored each applicant. The areas included expertise in growing and dispensing. There were numerous points given for the security of the growing facility. Sections of the "Scorecard for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organization"  also covered medical personnel including a doctor and his/her qualifications. 

The process evaluated Vehicles that will be used to transport product among cultivating, processing, and dispensing facilities; Locking options; Alarm systems; Video surveillance; Systems for tracking THC plant material throughout dispensing; and Inventory control systems for THC cannabis and Derivative Products.

Key Points in Medical Marijuana Licensing Lawsuit


  • 5 Growers outside their regions are able to dispense cannabis throughout the state, including the region containing Hillsborough County.
  • 5 Growers have an unfair advantage by being allowed to begin dispensing cannabis statewide or regionally during the litigation.
  • 5 Growers will have a "monopoly" by being allowed to begin dispensing cannabis statewide or regionally during the litigation.
  • The Department of Health Office of Compassionate Use improperly scored the winning applications.
  • Scorecard for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organization Selection form was improperly evaluated, approved, and used in the selection process.

Excerpt from Scorecard for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organizations


Dispensing Technical Ability 

1. Experience interacting with patients
2. Experience with handling confidential information
3. A marketing plan
4. Experience gathering and managing data, i.e. data on patient reactions to products dispensed
5. Experience with recalls
6. Knowledge of cannabis routes of administration
7. Training programs for employees addressing:
    a) The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
    b) Patient education
    c) Compliance
    d) Patient counseling
    e) Data collection
8. Any awards, recognition or certifications received for relevant expertise.
Infrastructure
9. A map showing the location of the applicant’s proposed  facilities
10. A sketch or other illustration of the actual or proposed locations showing streets property lines buildings parking areas outdoor areas, if applicable fences security features fire hydrants, if applicable and access to water and sanitation systems
11. A floor plan of the actual or proposed building or buildings where dispensing activities will occur showing:
    a) Areas designed to protect patient privacy
    b) Areas designed for retail sales
12. A HIPAA compliant computer network utilized by all facilities
13. Vehicles that will be used to transport product among cultivating, processing, and dispensing facilities
14. Communication systems
15. Hours of operation of each dispensing facility and
16. Methods of mitigating odors if applicable
Premises, Resources, Personnel
17. Location of all properties Applicant proposes to utilize to dispense low-THC cannabis and Derivative Products, including ownership information for the properties and any lease terms if applicable”
    a) For any property leased by the Applicant, include documentation that property owner consents to the use of the property for the purpose of dispensing of Derivative Products and documentation that the mortgagor or lienholder has been given notice of the use of the property for the purpose of dispensing of Derivative Products
    b) Documentation that the mortgagor or lienholder has been notified of the use of the property for the purposes of dispensing of Derivative Products
18. Compliance with local regulations regarding sanitation and waste disposal
19. The ability to obtain zoning approval
20. Sketch or other illustration approximating the property boundaries, land topography, vegetation, proposed and/or existing structures, easements, wells, and roadways for each property proposed
21. A description of the ability or plan to expand any of the areas proposed for dispensing Derivative Products
22. Description of the methods proposed for the dispensing of Derivative Products, including the following:
    a) Accessibility of dispensing facilities, e.g., centrally located to several populated areas, located on a main roadway, not in a high crime area, et cetera
    b) Proximity of dispensing facilities to patient populations and
    c) Alternative dispensing, e.g. delivery.
23. A list of current and proposed staffing, including:
    a) Position, duties and responsibilities
    b) Resume and
    c) Professional licensure disciplinary action in all jurisdictions
24. An organizational chart illustrating the supervisory structure of the proposed Dispensing Organization
25. Plans and procedures for loss of key personnel
26. Plans and procedures for complying with OSHA regulations for workplace safety
Accountability
27. Floor plan of each facility or proposed floor plans for proposed facilities, including the following:
    a) Locking options for each means of ingress and egress
    b) Alarm systems
    c) Video surveillance
    d) Name and function of each room
    e) Layout and dimensions of each room
28. Storage, including the following:
    a) Safes
    b) Vaults
    c) Climate control
29. Diversion and trafficking prevention procedures
30. A facility emergency management plan
31. System for tracking low-THC source plant material throughout dispensing
32. Inventory control system for low-THC cannabis and Derivative Products
33. Policies and procedures for recordkeeping
34. Vehicle tracking systems
35. Vehicle security systems
36. Methods of screening and monitoring employees
37. Personnel qualifications and experience with chain of custody or other tracking mechanisms
38. Personnel reserved solely for inventory control purposes
39. Personnel reserved solely for security purposes
40. Plans for the recall of any Derivative Products that have a reasonable probability of causing adverse health consequences based on a testing result, bad patient reaction, or other reason
41. Access to specialized resources or expertise regarding data collection, security, and tracking.




Sources: 

http://www.floridahealth.gov/programs-and-services/office-of-compassionate-use/_documents/amended-petition-plants-of-ruskin.pdf
https://www.flrules.org/gateway/reference.asp?No=Ref-05461
https://www.flrules.org/gateway/readRefFile.asp?refId=5461&filename=64-4%20Certification.Scorecard%20Form%20DH8007-OCU-2.2015.docx