Florida’s Vertically Integrated Cannabis System Could Open Soon

A case that could change medical cannabis in Florida forever has made its way to the Florida Supreme Court. Florigrown, a Tampa based company is arguing a 2017 state law conflicts with the constitutional amendment that legalized medical cannabis in 2016. In other words, they are claiming the way the State has implemented their medical cannabis system is unconstitutional. The company has tried and has been unsuccessful in acquiring a license to grow and sell cannabis in the state.

It all centers around a requirement in the 2017 law that forces the industry into what is called a “vertically integrated” system. That means that Florida cannabis companies must handle all aspects of the plant. To sell cannabis in the state of Florida you must grow and process it yourself. Florida companies cannot specialize in one aspect of the distribution chain, they have to handle all aspects of the distribution chain.

The argument that Florigrown presents is that was not the intention of the constitutional amendment. It actually all comes down to the usage of the word “or” in the 2016 constitutional amendment rather than the word “and”.

The amendment defines a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) as follows:

“an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes … transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, OR educational materials.”

Since the amendment defines and MMTC as “all of those things” “OR administers marijuana”… Florigrown is arguing that the intention of the constitutional amendment is to have an opened industry where people can specialize on different aspects of the supply chain. If they win that would be the end of the “vertically integrated” system.

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