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Supplemental Brief Filed in Fla. Medical Marijuana Licensing Case

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The Florida Department of Health and Office of Medical Marijuana Use filed a supplemental brief in a case concerning Florida medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) registrations. Florigrown wants to become licensed as an MMTC and argued that a recent bill passed in the Florida legislature which has kept them from obtaining a license is unconstitutional.

The Florida Department of Health is represented by Amber Stoner Nunnally. Florigrown, LLC is represented by Katherine E. Giddings. The case is being heard in the Florida Supreme Court after the First District Court ruled in favor of Florigrown.

Florigrown alleged licensing requirements were fundamentally altered and unfair in oral arguments heard in the case in May. The Florida Health Department said Florigrown lacked expertise and that the bill’s amendment did not alter the legislature’s power to make policy decisions.

The company Florigrown presented constitutional challenges to a cap on the number of MMTC licenses that would be issued and a requirement for “vertical integration” which the brief said have already been discussed at length. The Petitioner’s brief instead argues that Florigrown does not have a likelihood of success in their claim that the licensing law grants a privilege to a private corporation.

“Florigrown’s claim before the trial court that the MMTC Licensure Statute is an unconstitutional special law is subject to the rigorous scrutiny required for facial challenges,” the brief from the Florida Department of Health claims, saying Florigrown would need to show that there are no circumstances where it would be valid. They claim there is not a substantial likelihood of success for this case because the MMTC licensure statue is a general law that creates a unified system and a rolling expansion of growth across the state.

“Florigrown was tilting at windmills when it suggested to the trial court that the MMTC Licensure Statute was an invalid “special law” because Florigrown and others could not apply for MMTC licensure under the specific statutory subdivisions that carved out a path for those involved in the ‘earlier low-THC program,’” the brief says. “The proper focus in the special law inquiry is not on that question. Rather, it is on whether the framework for licensure remains open to new entities, including Florigrown.”

The Florida Department of Health claims the Licensure Statute provides licenses as a competitive award to qualified applicants. They currently allow seven licenses, and the number is planned to increase as conditions in the law are met. 

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