Last week a Judge in Tallahassee, Florida overturned a law that limited the number of medical marijuana treatment centers in the state. Leon County Circuit Judge Charles Dodson issued an eight-page order that found the law in direct violation of the state constitutional amendment that was approved by voters in 2016.
Judge Dodson noted that, “Such limits directly undermine the clear intent of the amendment, which by its language seeks to prevent arbitrary restriction on the number of MMTCs authorized to conduct business in the state. The amendment mandates the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients.”
He also ruled that the new law was unconstitutional because it mandated that state licensed operators had to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana rather than licensing separate businesses to handle each stage of the supply chain.
Additionally the law sought to illegitimately restrict who could obtain a cannabis license. Despite Judge Charles Dodson’s ruling pertaining to medical marijuana treatment centers, he failed to issue a temporary injunction to prevent the Department of Health from licensing only a select few dispensaries.
Brad Dalton, the spokesman for the Florida Department of Health, wrote in email that, “The denial of the request for temporary injunction will allow the department to continue to work to implement the law so Floridians can have safe access to this medicine.”
The ruling definitely favored the plaintiff in this case, Florigrown LLC, and the CEO Adam Eland remarked that, “It’s the first time any judge has weighed in on the licensing process at all, and what he said was unequivocal. … What he’s saying, and I think this is super clear, is what you’re doing is unconstitutional.”
Judge Dodson went on to explain that, “This court understands the importance of both the Legislature and the department in developing a thorough, effective, and efficient framework within which to regulate medical marijuana, as directed by the amendment. Florigrown has established that the Legislature and the department have such a framework and are implementing it, currently, with other registrants. They have simply chosen to restrict access to this framework in a manner that violates the amendment.”
While Dodson failed to issue an injunction, the judge set an October 3rd deadline for the Florida Department of Health, and the Legislature to resolve the oversights in the law. Whether or not they’ll meet this deadline is solely their responsibility. In the meantime, patients can still have access to any of the existing medical marijuana treatment centers and if this ruling stands their could be many more on their way.