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State Dispensaries show 30% Increase in Sales
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THC cap for medical marijuana patients under 21 dies in Florida House
Read more here: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/marijuana/article241175681.html#storylink=cpy
From Miami Herald’s Samantha GrossRead more
THC cap? Jose Oliva wants one on all forms of medical cannabis
Flower and concentrates would be affected.
In a case that could create a major upheaval in the state’s pot industry, health officials on Thursday asked the Florida Supreme Court to uphold a 2017 law that carried out a constitutional amendment broadly legalizing medical marijuana.
Lawyers for the Department of Health argued that, in creating and passing the law, the Florida Legislature carried out its “constitutional prerogative to serve as the state policymaker and to protect the welfare of the citizenry.”
The state agency urged the Supreme Court to overturn a ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal that said a key part of the law conflicted with the 2016 constitutional amendment, approved by 71 percent of Florida voters.
The controversy is centered on a key component of the law that established a “vertical integration system” in which a limited number of companies that receive medical marijuana licenses must handle all aspects of the business, including growing, processing and distributing products. The alternative to vertical integration would be to allow companies to play different roles, potentially leading to more players in the industry.
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As the Legislature reaches the halfway point of the 2020 session, no committee has yet to hear any of the wide range of bills filed to address a list of issues in Florida’s medical marijuana program.
Marijuana advocates are frustrated and people in the industry are left scratching their heads.
2019 was an eventful year for cannabis, but without a constitutional amendment to be implemented or the prodding of Gov. Ron DeSantis to make moves, there is little motivation for leadership to take up marijuana bills.
▪ Bill to waive the $75 medical card fee for patients who are veterans.
This bill would exempt veterans from having to pay fees to attain, replace or renew a medical marijuana card. The idea was brought up by Broward Democratic Sen. Gary Farmer as an amendment to an existing marijuana bill during the 2019 legislative session but failed to make it onto the bill.
This year, the bill was filed in the Senate by Tampa Democrat Janet Cruz and in the House by Riverview Democrat Adam Hattersley, who is a Navy veteran.
Neither version of the bill has been heard in committee.
▪ Bill to eliminate the vertically integrated business model in Florida’s medical marijuana law, undo the cap on the number of licenses and legalize marijuana for adult use.
This jam-packed set of bills filed by St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes and Orlando Democrat Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, includes a variety of policies that would reshape the marijuana industry.
The bill would legalize adult use of marijuana for people over 21, order the courts to expunge criminal records of people with certain marijuana-related offenses and open up the current medical marijuana business model.
The current model maintains that a license holder must grow, process, test and sell their product without any subcontractors or middle men.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, also has a bill that addresses the medical marijuana business model and lifts the cap on licenses the state can issue.
None of the bills have been heard.
Read more at the Miami Herald
After more than five years, Boca Raton decided to join the growing number of South Florida communities that allow medical marijuana dispensaries.
Boca had banned the dispensaries in 2014. In a 3-2 vote Tuesday night, the City Council approved repealing the ban and allowing the businesses within the city. Companies can start applying for permits immediately.Fullscreen
Councilman Andy Thomson introduced the bill. He, Councilwoman Monica Mayotte and Mayor Scott Singer voted in favor, while Councilwoman Andrew Levine O’Rourke and Councilman Jeremy Rodgers were opposed.
“This is medicine for people who need it, and need it badly,” Thomson said.
The vote came after about two hours of public discussion and council discussion.
Rodgers wanted to wait until after next year’s Florida Legislature session, perhaps until June 2021. He said he was more comfortable waiting a while, citing the federal prohibition on marijuana. The council decided move forward right away.
Read More at Sun Sentinel
Backers of a recreational-marijuana legalization effort announced Monday their proposal will not be on Florida’s 2020 ballot -- though a separate legalization drive continues.
In an email to supporters Monday, leaders of the “Regulate Florida” ballot initiative, which called for the state to regulate marijuana in the same way as alcohol, acknowledged they would not collect the necessary petition signatures before a Feb. 1 deadline.
Because the signatures have to be verified by elections officials prior to the deadline, petitions need to be submitted by Jan. 1, Regulate Florida’s board of directors said in the email.
“The sad reality is that we are not going to be able to meet that deadline,” Michael Minardi, the chairman of the political committee behind the proposal, and other board members said in the message.
The group announced it isn’t giving up on legalizing pot and is turning its attention to the legislative session that begins Jan. 14.
“We will continue to advocate for adult use for all Floridians and pursue an agenda that includes home cultivation, employee protections, social consumption, expungement of criminal records pertaining to marijuana offenses and more,” the board said.
Meanwhile, supporters of “Make It Legal Florida,” a separate measure to legalize recreational pot in the Sunshine State, continue racing to beat the deadline to get on the 2020 ballot. According to the Florida Division of Elections website, the political committee behind that proposal had submitted 159,250 valid signatures to the state as of Monday morning.
Initiatives require 766,200 signatures and need Florida Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording to go before voters.
Two of the state’s largest medical marijuana operators have poured money into Make It Legal Florida since the effort was launched this year. Surterra Holdings, which operates under the name Parallel, and MM Enterprises USA, LLC, which operates as MedMen, have almost totally funded the political committee behind the effort.
The committee had raised -- and spent -- more than $3.7 million as of Nov. 30, according to the state elections website.
The Make It Legal Florida proposal would allow adults 21 or older to “possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason.”
In a Florida Supreme Court case with major ramifications for the medical-marijuana industry, the Florida House contends a disputed 2017 law helps prevent “diversion” of pot to the illegal recreational market, minors and other states.
House attorneys late Monday filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Supreme Court to overturn a July ruling by the 1st District Court of Appeal that said a key part of the law conflicted with a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana.
That key part of the law involves what is known as “vertical integration” —- a system in which a limited number of companies that receive medical marijuana licenses must handle all aspects of the cannabis trade, including growing, processing and distributing the products. The alternative to vertical integration would be to allow companies to play different roles, potentially leading to more players in the industry.
In the brief Monday, House attorneys pointed to the need for a secure medical-marijuana system that would prevent pot from being used recreationally.
It said the Legislature “determined that licensure was appropriate only for vertically integrated entities, enabling the state to hold a single entity accountable for each phase of the industry from cultivation to dispensation.”
“That approach combats product diversion from a legal medical market to the illegal recreational black market,” the House attorneys wrote. “States with diffuse licensure systems, low market barriers, and unlimited licenses provide a cautionary tale. Such states have significant oversupply and persistent diversion and exportation of marijuana. The Legislature also required vertical integration to help curtail diversion to minors and diversion to other states where marijuana remains illegal or is regulated differently, which addresses the concerns the federal government expressed regarding the legalization of marijuana at the state level.”
Also filing a brief late Monday supporting the law were attorneys for several companies that already have medical-marijuana licenses. The brief said the decision by the 1st District Court of Appeal would cause a “seismic shift in Florida’s medical marijuana program.”
“In sum, the Florida Legislature created a vertically integrated medical marijuana program and established limits on the number of … licenses in an effort to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana as required by the (constitutional) amendment,” the companies’ joint brief said. “These policy decisions are sound and consistent with medical marijuana programs in other states. By all indications, Florida’s program is growing successfully and appropriately.”
The arguments came in a long-running lawsuit filed by the Tampa-based firm Florigrown, which has tried unsuccessfully to get a medical-marijuana license from the state. The Legislature passed the 2017 law to carry out the constitutional amendment.
A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal in July upheld part of a temporary injunction issued by a Leon County circuit judge who found that the 2017 law conflicted with the constitutional amendment.
At least in part, the court focused on the difference in the words “or” and “and” in the definitions of medical-marijuana operators, which are known as medical marijuana treatment centers.
The constitutional amendment defined the centers as “an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes … transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials.”
Meanwhile, under the 2017 law, “a licensed medical marijuana treatment center shall cultivate, process, transport and dispense marijuana for medical use” – wording that establishes the vertically integrated system of performing all aspects of the business.
“The power of the Legislature does not include rewriting clear language in the Constitution, transforming a disjunctive ‘or’ into a conjunctive ‘and,’ ” appeals-court Judge Scott Makar wrote in a subsequent decision in which the court declined to revisit the decision.
“No evidence exists that the people via the elemental language of the medical marijuana amendment clearly intended a market limited to only a few fully vertically-integrated medical marijuana companies,” he wrote.
The Florida Department of Health, which administers the medical-marijuana system, appealed to the Supreme Court. Justices said in October they would hear the case, though they have not scheduled a date for oral arguments.
Florigrown is not required to file a brief until early next month, but CEO Adam Elend said in July that the 1st District Court of Appeal decision was a “game-changer” and described the current system as an “oligopoly.”
“It drops a bomb on the current licensing scheme. It’s just changing the whole regime,” Elend said.