Florida state health officials have begun the processing of licensing up to 22 new medical cannabis companies, the News Service of Florida reports. The new licenses could potentially double the size of the state’s medical cannabis industry.
Officials passed an emergency rule to set up the process, wherein health officials will accept future applications in “batching cycles” — these cycles will be more clearly defined under additional rules which are expected later on, but the batching cycle could be intended to help the state avoid lawsuits from rejected applicants, the report said. The licenses are required under Florida’s medical cannabis framework, which mandates the licensing of more companies as the state’s patient base grows.
Additionally, regulators more than doubled the state’s original medical cannabis application fee from $60,830 to $146,600 for the new licenses.
The Florida State Department also published an emergency rule to increase the cost of license renewals from $60,000 per year to more than $1 million — the cost bumps come following complaints by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) that Florida’s cannabis companies were paying too little to operate in the state considering that the licenses have sold for more than $50 million, the report said.
The Physician Certification Pattern Review 2023 — published earlier this year — noted that Florida‘s medical cannabis market saw its patient count increase by 25% during the fiscal year 2022 with approximately 546 million ounces of cannabis sold to 757,600 qualifying patients.
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