The 1st District Court of Appeal asked the Florida Supreme Court to decide whether the state’s “vertical integration” system of requiring licensed operators to grow, process and distribute cannabis and derivative products runs afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida.
Florida’s law requiring pot operators to grow, process and distribute cannabis and related products created an “oligopoly” and runs afoul of a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in the Sunshine State, an appellate court ruled Tuesday.
In other states where medical marijuana has been legalized, smokable products comprise between 40 and 60 percent of sales. Florida voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.
The House passed the proposal (SB 182) in a 101-11 vote Wednesday, sending the bill to the governor two days before a March 15 deadline he had set. The Senate passed the bill last week.
It’s time for lawmakers and health officials to recognize the well-established power of medical marijuana to treat chronic pain — and to acknowledge its emerging role in combating the opioid abuse crisis.
The amendment also would require pre-rolled joints with filters. That was designed to address concerns about the negative health effects of smoking.
But legislative leaders may not be keen on completely doing away with vertical integration, a move that could destabilize a growing and lucrative market in which one marijuana license recently sold for $63 million in cash.
DeSantis, a Republican who will take office on Jan. 8, is unwilling to continue some of the court battles now being waged by outgoing Gov. Rick Scott’s administration.
The judge previously ruled that Florida health rules over medical pot were unconstitutional, and set a Wednesday deadline for the deficiencies with the law to be resolved. It passed.
The cap on the number of medical marijuana operators “directly contradicts the amendment,” Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson ruled in an eight-page order.