Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2019 146 For information about cannabis regulations in other markets, order the Marijuana Business Factbook at Main measures MMJ business regulations State tax requirements Sampling of state licensing & application fees Senate Bill 1030: legalized CBD oil production, distribution and use (2014) Amendment 2: legalized broader medical marijuana industry (2016) Florida has approved licenses for 14 of the 17 allowed vertically integrated operators, which were initially approved to open 25 medical marijuana treatment centers (i.e. dispensaries). The rules allow for the dispensary cap to increase by five for each 100,000 patients in the registry—making the current cap 35—as the state hit this threshold for the second time. However, the limit was deemed unconstitutional in February by a circuit court judge and is currently being challenged in the state’s Court of Appeals. Limitations on the licensing structure itself was ruled unconstitutional in August—an issue Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked lawmakers to address during the legislative session. Florida does not allow reciprocity to patients from other states, but it does permit seasonal residents to apply to become patients. Licensed operators are subject to various rules and regulations, including testing, security and recordkeeping. The state’s 4% general excise tax applies to MMJ. Application Medical marijuana treatment center: $60,063 License Medical marijuana treatment center: $60,063   What to watch Florida’s cap on dispensaries was ruled unconstitutional in February by a circuit court judge on the grounds it erects barriers resulting in increased costs and delayed access to medicine for patients. State regulators signaled they would challenge the ruling. Additionally, the licensing structure itself was deemed unconstitutional in August 2018. Gov. Ron DeSantis has asked the Legislature to loosen the state’s licensing rules to allow new players to enter the market. Florida dispensaries recently started selling smokable flower, which DeSantis signed into law March 18. Edibles, meanwhile, are allowed under state law but have not yet hit the shelves, as the health department has not issued final regulations. New Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried claims edibles constitute packaged foods and are therefore under the authority of her department. Fried has committed to introducing new rules on edibles in spring 2019. Market AtA Glance | Florida Florida’s medical marijuana program continues to flourish. In March, the state’s qualified patient registry eclipsed 200,000 patients—an increase of more than 100,000 since March 2018. Continued growth and opportunity are on the horizon, as state lawmakers ended the ban on smokable flower and final regulations may soon be issued on edibles—products that have proved popular among patients in other state markets. Additionally, the state’s restrictive licensing rules may change in one of two ways: by eliminating the cap on the number of dispensaries each vertically integrated operator may open or by loosening the licensing rules to increase the number of operators. Medical marijuana in the Sunshine State is currently dominated by a handful of large-scale, multistate operators. Removing the cap could yield further growth for the limited number of license holders, while allowing more licenses to be granted could open the door to new players in this dynamic market. – Maggie Cowee