As one of the largest states in America, Florida is a prime area for a boom in the medical marijuana industry. But a new lawsuit says the state's restrictive regulations are preventing businesses from opening.
The Patients and Producers Alliance, a marijuana advocacy group in South Florida, has sued the state claiming that limitations on the numbers of growers and dispensaries are unconstitutional. They claim that the companies who first entered the state's industry are attempting to shut newcomers out and control the market all for themselves.
One of the biggest points of contention in the lawsuit are growing licenses. Florida law only allows 13 businesses to become licensed cannabis growers in the state. But several of the licenses are being held by businesses with no intention of ever growing marijuana. Instead, they're trying to sell the licenses they obtained from the state at a profit. Therefore, these licensed growers are actually growing any marijuana, which is a disservice to the Florida's medical marijuana patients.
Florida's medical marijuana program is one of the most controversial in the country. The state instituted a ban on smoking medical marijuana, and put an incredibly harsh barrier of entry for companies trying to break into the market. Businesses attempting to get licenses are required to spend millions of dollars on bonds and $60,000 application fees. The result is only 0.02 percent of Floridians actually have access to legal medical marijuana.
The hope is that this lawsuit will help loosen regulations and restrictions and allow the state's program to finally flourish.
(h/t Miami New Times)