Florida Supreme Court Rules Against Marijuana Industry Challenge

Florida Supreme Court Building


Earlier this week the Florida Supreme Court unanimously ruled against a challenge to Florida’s medical marijuana law from the medical marijuana industry. The ruling backed the state’s strict regulation of the industry’s business model standardized by the Florida legislature.

The challenge was filed by a marijuana company, Florigrown, where they contested the legislation put in place which limits the amount of medical marijuana licenses issued in Florida and requires dispensaries to grow and process their product. Florigrown was denied a license to become a medical marijuana treatment center in 2017.

The Supreme Court’s ruling said the legislation enacted does not run at-odds with a constitutional amendment passed by Florida voters in 2016 legalizing medical marijuana. The high court also noted the strict regulations regarding the dispensaries’ grow-and-process requirements was not considered under the ballot referendum.

“Competent, substantial evidence does not support a finding that the statute has made medical marijuana unavailable, and the Amendment does not preclude a limit on the number of MMTCs [Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers] that can be licensed,” the court wrote in its opinion.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried weighed in by saying she was disappointed by the court’s decision, and that the court was dominated by Republicans, calling Florida’s medical marijuana system “unfair.” She oversees the implementation of medical marijuana in the Florida Department of Agriculture and has deep financial ties to the medica marijuana industry.

“This ruling by our Republican-dominated Supreme Court further entrenches Florida’s unfair, unconstitutional medical marijuana system put in place by our Republican-dominated Legislature,” she said in a news release. “This status quo helps absolutely no one except the 22 medical marijuana companies in Florida at the expense of patients.”

Fried’s fiancé, Jake Bergmann, is a large owner in one of the 22 companies currently operating in Florida, Surterra Wellness, now called Parallel. Fried also has a financial stake in Harvest Health & Recreation Inc., a company acquired by Florida’s largest medical marijuana company, Trulieve, earlier this month.

Florida currently has more than 338 dispensaries serving over 500,000 patients.

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Grant Holcomb is a reporter at the Florida Capital Star and the Star News Network. Follow Grant on Twitter and direct message tips.
Photo “Florida State Supreme Court” by Bruin79. CC BY-SA 3.0.







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