The First District Court of Appeal for Florida ruled Tuesday that the state’s approach to regulating marijuana is unconstitutional.
The plaintiff, Florigrown, was seeking registration as a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) under Art. X, § 29, of the Florida Constitution. Their application was denied as a result of a bill that amended section 381.986 of the Florida Code to impose a cap on the number of MMTC facilities.
The court found that the statutory language directly conflicts with the constitutional amendment and is unreasonable, ruling that “the State may not regulate an industry governed by a constitutional amendment in such a manner that would severely restrict or diminish the industry.”
The court found that Florigrown adequately meets the requirements to obtain a temporary injunction as granted by the lower court. Florigrown established irreparable harm and inadequate remedy at law based on their being unconstitutionally excluded from the process to obtain a MMTC license.
The court affirmed the injunction to the extent that it “precludes the Department from enforcing the unconstitutional provisions” of the regulatory framework, but also provides for a “reasonable period of time” for the Department to “exercise its duties.”
Justice Makar wrote separately, concurring with the opinion and adding that “the public interest is best served by allowing implementation of the market structure the constitutional amendment requires subject to the Department’s broad powers to protect the public.”
Justice Wetherell concurred in part and dissented in part, agreeing “with the majority opinion in so far as it quashes the portion of the preliminary injunction requiring the Department to immediately register appellees as MMTCs.” Dissenting from the remainder of the opinion, Wetherell argued that Florigrown did not establish that the injunction that was affirmed is in the public interest.
As Justice Wetherell noted, this decision will effectively mandate immediate change for the entire structure of the medical marijuana industry within Florida.
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