Arguing that a $1.33 million price tag is unjustified, a medical cannabis operator is challenging a license-renewal fee boost that came after Gov. Ron DeSantis said pot companies aren’t paying enough to conduct business in Florida.
The state Department of Health in December adopted a rule creating a formula that set the license-renewal fee for medical cannabis operators at $1.33 million every two years — more than 22 times the $60,000 biennial fee operators had been paying since the program started six years ago.
The formula is based on the number of licensed operators and the cost to regulate the medical cannabis program. But, the fee does not take into account the tens of millions of dollars collected by the agency from patients and caregivers who pay $75 a year for identification cards to participate in the program.
The revised license-renewal fee is “an exponential increase” from the previous amount, lawyers for Sanctuary Cannabis, whose license is due for renewal in January, argued in a challenge filed last week. Sanctuary’s petition for an administrative hearing relied heavily on a budget request the health department submitted to the Legislature for the 2024-2025 fiscal year, which will begin in July.
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