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Florida medical cannabis business licensing expansion is on the horizon

The Florida Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) will soon open a general application process for additional medical cannabis treatment center licenses (MMTC Licenses).

Right now, the State of Florida has 22 vertically integrated MMTCs, arguably the most valuable cannabis business licenses in the world. These licenses are so valuable because each MMTC licensee can open an unlimited number of dispensaries, cultivations, and processing locations throughout the Sunshine State—a characteristic unique to the Florida program. Five of these licenses were issued via a 2015 application process. The remaining 17 licenses were issued to unsuccessful applicants from that initial process via a settlement agreement with the Department of Health.

In early 2017, the medical cannabis statute was amended to require that an additional 10 licenses be issued via an application process, with another four MMTC licenses issued within six months after the registration of 100,000 active qualified patients in the medical cannabis use registry. Applicant teams were organized, the capital was raised, and hopeful licensees were, well, hopeful. Then, the application process stalled in December 2017 with the filing of the Florigrown lawsuit against the Florida Department of Health, which challenged the constitutionality of Florida's medical cannabis statute.

While the exact timing of the rule and application release for the General Application Round is unclear, qualified well-funded teams representing local and international interests are betting on some movement by year-end.

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