Despite the fact that oral arguments were just held in the appellate case involving the State of Florida’s appeal of a court decision legalizing smoking medical marijuana, new Florida Governor has announced and hinted at big changes to Florida’s regulatory and legal structure for medical marijuana.
First, Gov. De Santis recently stated that he wants Florida’s legislature to strip the ban on smoking from the medical marijuana law, but if that doesn’t happen he will drop the State’s appeal of a lower court ruling which permitted smoking medical marijuana. If the State of Florida abandons the appeal that would effectively legalize smoking in Florida.
Second, and more importantly for those in the industry, Gov. De Santis heavily criticized the current licensing structure in Florida which is limited to 14 vertical licenses which require seed to sale for those companies that own a license. Gov. De Santis called the current license structure a cartel.
They created a cartel essentially, I don’t know that the amendment necessarily prohibits that, but that is not good policy.
A change in licensing structure would open up competition and reduce prices for consumers and permit smaller companies to get involved in the industry. On the other hand, a change in licensing structure would negatively impact the value of the current licenses.
Dori K. Stibolt is a West Palm Beach, Florida based partner with Fox Rothschild LLP. She focuses her practice on litigation and labor and employment issues and has taken a special interest in the cannabis business. You can contact Dori at 561-804-4417 or firstname.lastname@example.org.