State Politics

Surterra resumes medical marijuana processing after complying with missed inspection

Surterra Therapeutics Cultivation Manager Wes Conner walks through one of the rooms within the company’s 6,000-square-foot facility on the outskirts of Tallahassee, where marijuana plants were in their initial stages of growth in June 2016.
Surterra Therapeutics Cultivation Manager Wes Conner walks through one of the rooms within the company’s 6,000-square-foot facility on the outskirts of Tallahassee, where marijuana plants were in their initial stages of growth in June 2016. AP

Surterra, one of the largest medical marijuana treatment centers in the state, resumed processing cannabis Friday after complying with a missed inspection deadline that had forced it to halt operations at its processing facilities last week.

In a letter to the state Department of Health, Surterra submitted documentation of the required certification for two of its facilities and said it intended to restart processing at those sites. The little-noticed deadline had required every medical marijuana treatment center in the state to undergo a series of inspections within 12 months of receiving a license, or stop until proof of the third-party inspections was shared with the state.

A third facility for the business has not submitted documentation and is not authorized to process medical marijuana, department spokesman Devin Galetta said, but the facility is under construction according to Surterra.

“During this process, we maintained plenty of inventory on hand and experienced zero interruption to operations for our patients,” Surterra spokeswoman Kim Hawkes said in a statement. “Surterra is fully compliant with all regulations set forth by the Florida Department of Health. We are proud to have the highest production standards in Florida and will continue to go above and beyond what is required by law.”

The business currently operates eight dispensaries in Florida, and operates the only physical dispensaries in Miami Beach, North Port, Largo and Deltona.

The inspection requirement, which mandates that medical marijuana treatment centers complete third-party inspections of its processing sites to ensure “good manufacturing practices,” was not noted by some medical marijuana businesses in the state because they misinterpreted it as a condition of selling edible medical marijuana, for which the Department of Health has still not finalized rules.

At least five centers, including Trulieve, GrowHealthy, Curaleaf, Knox Medical and Liberty Health Sciences, submitted their inspection documentation before their respective 12-month deadlines. One center — Gainesville-based The Green Solution — was forced to stop processing products earlier this month after it missed its deadline. The company delivers its products and does not have dispensing locations, and it indicated last week it expects to finish and submit that documentation by the end of the month.

At least four more centers have deadlines approaching for the processing inspection deadline, including Plants of Ruskin and 3 Boys Farm by the end of the month. Columbia Care Florida and Treadwell Nursery reach their 12-month deadline Aug. 9. Treadwell and 3 Boys Farm only have cultivation authorization and do not yet have dispensing locations, according to the Office of Medical Marijuana Use.

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