Florida Judge Restores Online Medical Marijuana Purchases


Judge Suzanne Van Wyk found this week that the ban on online medical marijuana purchases through third-party sites to be an unadopted rule and ordered the state to “immediately discontinue reliance on its policy … regarding the online ordering of medical marijuana through third-party websites.”

Van Wyk is an administrative law judge who presided over the decision to reinstate online purchases after the state banned the practice.

Leafly, an online website for medical marijuana products, initially filed the petition with the state after the state suspended their ability to sell online. Numerous of Florida’s medical marijuana dispensaries rely on third-party sites for price comparison, shipping, and online purchases sent directly to the local dispensary where the customer can pick up their ordered product.

The Florida Department of Health issued a memo in February threatening fines for companies who work with third-party distributors. The state cited a 2017 law where medical marijuana companies in Florida had to control all aspects of operation, known as the “seed-to-sale” model.

“Contracting with Leafly.com, or any other third-party website, for services directly related to dispensing is a violation of this provision,” then-Department of Health Chief of Staff Courtney Coppola wrote in the February memo.

Leafly Holdings CEO Yoko Miyashita praised Van Wyk’s decision.

“By allowing services like Leafly Pickup, consumers have greater ability to research in advance prior to purchase and retailers have additional effective means of serving the patient communities. We look forward to working with our partners to restart Leafly Pickup throughout Florida effectively immediately,” Miyashita said.

Legal questions arose after Leafly filed the petition, given that they are a Seattle-based company, and that they are not regulated by Florida agencies. However, Van Wyk rejected the notion that Leafly, and other third-party sites, had no legal standing since they were outside of the state’s regulatory purview.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at The Florida Capital Star and The Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Medical Marijuana” by O’Dea. CC BY-SA 4.0.




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