On July 12, 2016, Florida legislators made it legal to cultivate and dispense medical marijuana products to eligible patients. However, the landmark bill limits the number of medical marijuana dispensaries that businesses can open to just 25. This cap, which is part of an amendment that largely legalized medical cannabis in Florida, is slated to expire in two years.
In the meantime, the state’s largest medical marijuana business – Trulieve—has filed a lawsuit against the state, contending that this limit violates the constitutional amendment “by arbitrarily and unreasonably depriving Trulieve of property or liberty rights without substantive due process.”
Trulieve sues FL over state dispensary limit
The company is not only the Sunshine State’s largest seller of medical-grade cannabis products, but it is also the fastest growing. The Gadsden County business argues that the state limit on dispensaries is intended to discourage competition, and that the arbitrary cap actually limits patient access. The lawsuit, brought in Leon County circuit court last month, is requesting that a Tallahassee judge exempt Trulieve from the 2017 restrictions.
According to court documents, Trulieve’s original application made clear its intent to open medical marijuana dispensaries throughout Florida, and regulators allegedly approved the permit without stipulating a limit of future stores that could be opened.
Excerpts from the plaintiff’s complaint were reported by the Florida Sun Sentinel. Legal counsel for Trulieve stated: “The right to compete statewide without restriction was an essential part of Trulieve’s business plan and a significant incentive to enter this novel business… In reliance on the statutory policy to encourage statewide competition, Trulieve sought to add dispensary locations around the state, which benefits patients and the public.”
If the cap is eventually eliminated, or the court exempts Trulieve from the restrictions, the company plans to open new dispensaries in several communities including Fort Walton Beach, Panama City, Apalachicola, Madison, Marianna and others.
Trulieve’s complaint is not the first to be brought against the state of Florida. At present, there are eight lawsuits relating to medical marijuana pending against the Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use.
Trusted medical marijuana testing in Florida
This recent litigation speaks to the growing demand for medical marijuana dispensaries and licensed treatment centers in Florida. Whether dispensing edibles, tincture droplets or other cannabis products for medicinal purposes, these facilities must use medical marijuana testing laboratories that comply with evolving regulations.
Established in 2014, Modern Canna Science in central Florida was the state’s first medical marijuana testing laboratory. Our state-of-the-art facility offers a full menu of analytical services, from potency and quality testing to screening for contaminants.
Modern Canna works with Florida’s licensed medical cannabis treatment centers to ensure that patients have access to products that are free of pesticides, mold, heavy metals and harmful contaminants. For more information on medical marijuana testing, we invite you to contact our Lakeland, Florida headquarters.
Additional Resources on Florida Medical Marijuana Dispensaries:
1. Orlando Weekly, Florida’s largest medical marijuana provider challenges state limit on dispensaries https://www.orlandoweekly.com/Blogs/archives/2018/04/03/floridas-largest-medical-marijuana-provider-challenges-state-limit-on-dispensaries
2. GreenHealth.org, Florida Medical Marijuana Dispensaries https://greenhealth.org/florida-medical-marijuana-dispensaries/