On October 16, 2019, the Supreme Court of Florida accepted jurisdiction to review the First District Court of Appeal’s finding that the State’s medical marijuana licensing scheme is unconstitutional. The Supreme Court of Florida will determine whether the statutory requirements of vertical integration and caps on the number of Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses conflict with Florida’s Medical Marijuana Amendment. (Click here for more information about the underlying case). Specifically, the Court will address the following question:
“Whether the plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of their claims that the statutory requirements of vertical integration and caps on the number of medical marijuana treatment center licenses as set forth in section 381.986(8), Florida Statutes, are in direct conflict with Article X, Section 29, of the Florida Constitution?”
The Supreme Court’s Order sets forth the parties’ briefing schedule and allows for oral argument. The date of the oral argument will be set by a separate order. Based on the briefing schedule and the allowance of oral argument, an Opinion by the Supreme Court is unlikely to be issued until after Florida’s next legislative session, which ends on March 13, 2020. That gives the Florida Legislature an opportunity to readdress the licensing structure governing Florida’s medical marijuana program before the Supreme Court renders a decision. There will remain a cloud of uncertainty over Florida’s market structure until action is taken by the State’s Legislature or a decision is rendered by the State’s highest court.