Appeals Court in Florida Says Medical Marijuana Statute is Unconstitutional

Tuesday, July 30, 2019
By George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On July 9, 2019, a Florida appellate court ruled that the Florida Legislature’s approach to regulating medical marijuana is unconstitutional. If the ruling stands, it would require state health officials to begin registering medical-marijuana firms to do business and lift existing caps on how many medical marijuana treatment centers can operate in Florida.


Changes to Florida’s Medical Marijuana Legislation.

The First District Court of Appeal said on July 9, 2019, that the Florida Legislature’s law conflicts with the amendment to the Florida Constitution, specifically, the portion that defines a medical marijuana treatment center or MMTC.  Florida’s current amendment requires MMTC’s to grow, process and distribute cannabis and all related products.

The Florida Court of Appeal ruled that this created an “oligopoly” or a vertically integrated business model.  By requiring treatment centers to also produce and distribute their product, the state has created a system that favors large businesses. The state law requires business entities desiring to participate in the retailing of medical marijuana to “conform to a more restricted definition” than what is set forth in the amendment, the majority said.

The court found “it is in the public interest” to require health officials to register medical marijuana operators “without applying the unconstitutional statutory provisions.” But that finding “does not support requiring the department to immediately begin registering” medical marijuana operators at this stage of the proceedings, the majority decided.

Click here to read the court’s opinion in full.

To read one of my prior blogs on Florida’s medical marijuana, click here.


Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical and Recreational Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists, and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at www.TheHealthLawFirm.com.


Sources:

Kam, Dara. “Medical marijuana: Florida law creates ‘oligopoly’ for pot businesses, court decides.” Orlando Sentinel. (July 10, 2019). Web.

Simpson, Dave. “Fla. Medical Marijuana Statute Deemed Unconstitutional.” Law360. (July 9, 2019). Web.

Gainey, Blaise. “Florida Courts Rule Medical Marijuana Scheme Unconstitutional. What's Next?” WUSF. (July 11, 2019). Web.


About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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7/30/2019

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