Florida medical cannabis licensing issue heads to state Supreme Court

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A court case that could break up Florida’s vertically integrated medical marijuana structure and open up new licensing opportunities in the fast-growing market is headed toward the final step of a long legal process.

A divided appellate court denied the state’s request to rehear the matter, sending the case to the Florida Supreme Court for a potential review, the News Service of Florida reported.

Businesses have been waiting anxiously for a final decision on how the courts will resolve the challenge to Florida’s MMJ structure and licensing caps.

The legal limbo has created “tremendous uncertainty” for licensees and they want a stable marketplace to operate in, Jeffrey Sharkey, executive director of the Florida Medical Marijuana Association, recently told Marijuana Business Daily.

The crux of the legal challenge is that Florida’s licensing restrictions run counter to the intention of the constitutional amendment passed by voters when they legalized MMJ in 2016.

The most recent court ruling ruled that the structure is unconstitutional but would give the Florida health department time to establish new licensing standards.

Florida’s MMJ market currently resembles an oligopoly.

Six vertically integrated companies operate more than 80% of the state’s 155 dispensaries, according to the state’s Aug. 23 update.

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