In an exciting twist for Florida’s medical cannabis marketplace, a Tallahassee judge ruled last week that the cap on cannabis operators imposed by state lawmakers “directly contradicts” the voter-approved constitutional amendment passed in 2016, the News Service of Florida reports.
Lawmakers added the restriction in 2017 while establishing rules and regulations for Florida’s medical cannabis regime.
“Such limits directly undermine the clear intent of the amendment, which by its language seeks to prevent arbitrary restriction on the number of MMTCs (medical marijuana treatment centers) authorized to conduct business in the state. The amendment mandates the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients.” — Leon County Circuit Judge Charles W. Dodson, in a written ruling
Judge Dodson continued, arguing that other restrictions added by lawmakers were also constitutional, including a rule forcing cannabis companies to vertically integrate instead of creating a cooperative marketplace with individual licenses for each activity — such as growing, manufacturing, or dispensing the product — and another rule that improperly restricts the state’s licensing process.
However, despite multiple findings that the rules established in 2017 are unconstitutional, Dodson stopped short of granting an injunction to hopeful MMJ company Florigrown, which had challenged the state after being denied a license.
But, if the ruling is upheld, this development could unlock an unlimited number of cannabis operator licenses in a state where one license has already sold for $93 million.