By: Dara Kam | The News Service of Florida
October 12, 2017
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (TNSF) — Accusing him of being biased, Florida health officials are asking that Administrative Law Judge John Van Laningham be removed from a case involving a medical marijuana license.
The highly unusual request came two days before a hearing was supposed to begin in a challenge filed last month against the state Department of Health by Homestead-based Keith St. Germain Nursery Farms.
In an affidavit filed Tuesday, state Office of Medical Marijuana Use Executive Director Christian Bax accused Van Laningham of having “prejudged the issues in this matter” and attempting to help St. Germain.
“Based on all of the facts set forth above, I have firmly concluded that the department cannot receive fair consideration of the issues and will not receive a fair final hearing in this matter if ALJ Van Laningham remains assigned as the administrative judge,” Bax said.
The tug-of-war between the judge and health officials escalated, with the judge chiding the state, lawyers for Bax refusing to back down and the nursery accusing the