Florida regulators announced that 22 new medical marijuana business licenses will be awarded that could double the size of the state’s MMJ market.
According to The News Service of Florida, state regulators also issued an emergency rule that:
- Increases the cost of a biennial license renewal from about $60,000 to more than $1.33 million and raises a new license fee from $60,830 to $146,000.
- Mandates that health officials accept applications in “batching cycles” whose time frames would be established in a separate rule. The new rule did not say how many licenses would be available in each cycle.
“It was quite brilliant to include the language regarding the batching cycle, and I would think the reason they did that is to avoid all this costly litigation that we’ve seen in the past,” Sally Kent Peebles, a Jacksonville-based partner at Denver-based cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP, told the news service.
“An unsuccessful group would be less inclined and has the wind taken out of the argument’s sails when the Department of Health can say, ‘You have the chance to reapply.’”
A Florida health department spokesperson told the Tampa Bay Times that the new rules also incorporate a “citrus preference,” which gives an edge to applicants who own at least one citrus-processing facility that will be used to process marijuana.
It was unclear when the application window would open for the new licenses.
Florida currently has 22 licensed MMJ operators whose sales surpassed $1 billion in the first six months of 2022, according to Headset, a Seattle-based cannabis data analytics company.