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Marijuana ID Contract Challenge Dropped

Nov 22, 2017
Originally published on November 22, 2017 7:59 am

A vendor that lost out on a lucrative contract to process medical-marijuana patient identification cards has dropped a legal challenge, according to documents filed Tuesday.

Automated Health Solutions filed the protest after state health officials decided to award the contract to Jacksonville-based Veritec. Despite the challenge, state Surgeon General Celeste Philip last week used her emergency powers to move forward with the Veritec contract, citing a need “to avoid an immediate and serious danger to public health.”

Patients have complained about months-long delays in getting the cards, which are required before they can purchase marijuana products from state-sanctioned dispensaries after doctors order the treatment. Lawmakers publicly questioned state pot czar Christian Bax about the hold-ups, which he blamed on his office's inability to move forward with the outsourcing of the ID cards.

After the Department of Health announced its intent to grant the $7.4 million contract to Veritec, Automated Health Solutions — which bid about $9.3 million — filed the protest. The challenge threatened to delay for months the outsourcing of the ID cards, ordered by lawmakers in a sweeping bill passed in June. That bill was intended to carry out a voter-approved constitutional amendment broadly legalizing medical marijuana.