Florida lawmakers reach agreement on medical marijuana rules

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Florida lawmakers reached a compromise on key details regarding the number of dispensaries and plans for additional licenses under the state’s full-fledged medical marijuana, paving the way for legislators to add MMJ legislation to this week’s special legislative session.

According to the Miami Herald and the News Service of Florida, the deal the House and Senate lawmakers reached would allow each cannabis license holder to operate up to 25 dispensaries statewide. The cap would expire in 2020, the Herald reported. 

The number of dispensaries had been a key stumbling block that had prevented House and Senate lawmakers from reaching a deal.

The new agreement, crafted behind closed doors, would also mandate the addition of 10 new MMJ operator licenses within seven months along with four more licenses for each additional 100,000 registered patients. License holders will also be allowed to add five more dispensaries per 100,000 additional patients.

According to the Herald, five of the new licenses would go to previous applicants who scored the highest in each of five regions across the state, and the remainder would go to new applicants, including at least one black farmer.

The proposal would also scuttle the 90-day waiting period for patients before physicians can order MMJ as treatment, the News Service of Florida reported.

Medical marijuana wasn’t originally planned for the special session agenda, but lawmakers were under the gun after failing to reach an agreement at the end of the regular session in May. The session is scheduled for June 7-9, and industry watchers expect to see legislation finalized at the end of it.