A recent battle between the state of Florida and Tampa-based medical marijuana company Florigrown has come to an end. Florigrown sued the state of Florida over a 2017 law that restricted licensing for medical marijuana companies and the medical marijuana market in Florida. Although it won its battle in the lower courts, the Supreme Court ruled against Florigrown.
This article discusses the 2017 law, the recent lawsuit, and what Florigrown's loss means for the medical marijuana industry and patients.
The 2017 Law
As medical marijuana has boomed in recent years, the state of Florida established a law in 2017 regarding licensing requirements for medical marijuana treatment centers (or MMTCs for short). The licensing requirements are strict and require medical marijuana companies in Florida to handle all aspects of the business (growing, distributing, selling, etc.).
The 2017 law did two things that Florigrown would go on to sue Florida for:
- The Florida Department of Health put a cap on the number of available licenses in the medical marijuana industry. That limit cannot be surpassed, and many companies fight for the licenses, which is obviously very restrictive to newer companies and competition.
- The medical marijuana operator's license sells for approximately 40 million dollars. That's a lot of money to spend for new businesses!
Those two specifics of the 2017 law have made it increasingly difficult for medical marijuana companies in Florida.
Florida State v. Florigrown
Florigrown sued the state of Florida, claiming that the law outlining licensing restrictions was unconstitutional. They claimed that it kept the medical marijuana market closed off and that it was unfair for those wishing to compete and supply Florida patients in a growing industry.
The lower courts actually sided with Florgrown, and the case moved up to the Florida Supreme Court. However, the Florida Supreme Court shot down Florigrown in a 6-1 vote on May 27th.
"The System Is Broken"
Florigrown and other hopeful medical marijuana companies spoke out against the loss. Adam Elend, the CEO of Florigrown, commented that the system is broken.
“It’s a loss for us, a loss for all the companies looking to enter this market, and it’s a loss for the patients and the system in general. The system is broken in Florida."
What does this mean for Florida companies and patients? As of right now, the companies that can distribute medical marijuana in Florida are far and few between. Only 22 companies currently have the medical marijuana operator's license in the state of Florida, creating a monopoly within the market. Therefore, patients are restricted as far as options and prices as well.
However, Florigrown and other medical marijuana companies have not given up. They are currently looking for ways to continue the fight against the strict laws in Florida.