A ruling handed down on Monday by an administrative law judge in Florida means that medical cannabis patients in the Sunshine State will soon be able to resume purchasing such products online. 

The decision from Judge Suzanne Van Wyk comes after state regulators in Florida had brought an end to patients using online services such as Leafly, which contracted with medical cannabis providers in the state to help patients complete their orders digitally.

According to local television station CBS12, state officials said “the arrangements violated a state law banning operators from contracting for services ‘directly related to the cultivation, processing and dispensing’ of cannabis.”

Those third-party, online companies saw Florida-based medical marijuana operators sever ties after the state’s Department of Health admonished them and threatened a $500,000 fine if the practice persisted.

CBS12 reported that the Department of Health handed down a memo saying that “the services were prohibited under a 2017 law that set up a structure for the Florida cannabis industry,” and that the law “requires medical marijuana operators to control all aspects of the business from seed to sale — including cultivation, processing and dispensing of products — rather than allowing companies to handle individual components of the trade.”

But Leafly, the station reported, “argued that it is not engaging in activity related to the dispensing of cannabis products because the company does not accept payment for or distribute cannabis products to patients,” and the company “filed a petition asking an administrative law judge to find that the Florida Department of Health employed an ‘unadopted and invalid rule’ to conclude that the online services violated the law.”

According to the station, Leafly had contracted with 277 medical marijuana retailers in Florida. 

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