Florida Supreme Court Upholds Vertically Integrated Medical Cannabis Structure

The Florida Supreme Court ruled in favor of the state’s vertically integrated medical cannabis industry, finding that the industry regulations have not hindered product availability nor limited the number of licensed dispensaries.

Full story after the jump.

Florida’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s current medical cannabis industry rules are constitutional, Florida Political Review reports. The legal challenge against the state’s vertical integration structure was filed by Florigrown, which was denied an operator license in the state in 2018.

Vertical integration requires that the same company grow, process, and distribute cannabis products in order to get a license. The initiative approved by voters in 2016 did not require a vertically integrated system; however, the structure was included in subsequent regulations approved by lawmakers.

In the 6-1 ruling, the Supreme Court found that the vertical integration system has neither made medical cannabis unavailable to patients nor limits the number of dispensaries that can be licensed.

Ben Pollara, who ran the campaign to legalize medical cannabis in Florida, said the decision “should surprise no one” which “comes as a giant relief to the medical marijuana companies.”

“That probably doesn’t mean a whole lot to folks that want to get medical marijuana in Florida, and who aren’t in it, because most of those folks gave up the goat a long time ago.”Pollara to the Political Review

Pollara also noted that the decision, paired with recent bills to limit the amount of THC in medical cannabis products, makes broad cannabis legalization unlikely “anytime in the future.”

“…This is the ball game,” he said in the report.

Justice Alan Lawson wrote the lone dissent with the majority opinion, concluding that the state’s medical cannabis law grants “privileges to corporations.”

There are only 22 entities licensed as medical cannabis operators in the Sunshine State.

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