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US (FL): Judge backs increased license fee for MMJcompanies

A $1.33 million license-renewal fee “carries out to the letter” a legislative mandate for how much it should cost MMJ companies to do business in Florida, an administrative law judge decided on Wednesday.

Florida Department of Health officials late last year adopted a rule creating a formula for establishing the fee. The rule boosted license-renewal costs for MMJ operators to $1.33 million, more than 22 times the $60,000 biennial fee paid since the cannabis program began six years ago.

Sanctuary Cannabis, one of two dozen licensed MMJ operators, filed an administrative challenge arguing the new fee is “wholly without logic or reason” because it does not take into account tens of millions of dollars from patients who pay $75 a year for identification cards to participate in the program.

But, siding with state health officials on Wednesday, Administrative Law Judge William Horgan found the fee reflects the “plain language” of lawmakers’ intent. A state law says the health department must adopt rules “establishing a procedure for the issuance and biennial renewal of licenses, including initial application and biennial renewal fees sufficient to cover the costs of implementing and administering” the MMJ program.

Read more at orlandosentinel.com

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