On the night of September 19th, 2017, Florida’s Department of Health (“DOH”) released new documents for the State’s Medical Marijuana Use program. Particularly, the documents relate to the rules, regulations, and application process for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (“MMTC”) license.

Florida residents are happy to see that the State is making progress in trying to implement its Medical Marijuana Use program. However, the DOH is now in a tough position because it was required by law to issue additional MMTC licenses by October 3, 2017. The deadline has passed with no indication of when the DOH will begin receiving applications for new MMTC licenses.

With uncertainty surrounding the application process, individuals were allowed to submit comments relating to the regulations for up to 3 days following the date the new regulations were published on September 19th. The DOH likely received a mixed bag of questions and comments from interested applicants seeking clarity on the laws and regulations governing the application process. The DOH has not released any responsive information to public comments.

Along with the ambiguity of the State’s regulations, there remains a grey area for regulations regarding the zoning of MMTCs at the county and municipality level. As mentioned in “Counties and Municipalities Are Grappling With How To Regulate Dispensaries Under Florida’s New Medical Marijuana Law,” counties and municipalities have varying stances on how to regulate cultivation, processing, and dispensing facilities within their boundaries. Some of the State’s largest municipalities are not publically addressing the subject of dispensaries – making it even more difficult for applicants and MMTCs alike.

Legal challenges relating to MMTC licensure have already begun. There have been at least two lawsuits filed against the State claiming the right to one of the few coveted licenses. We are likely to see other challenges relating to the application process, which some fear will only further delay the issuance of new licenses. In the meantime, applicants continue to navigate through the process despite the many challenges they face.