Florida Supreme Court Will Take Up Governor’s Appeal in Medical Cannabis Case

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The Florida Supreme Court will take up Gov. Ron DeSantis’ appeal in a medical cannabis case that illustrates the tension between a 2016 voter-approved legalization measure and state lawmakers’ attempts to implement that measure.

The court has given state lawyers a Nov. 5 deadline to file an initial brief, according to a CBS Miami report.

The Oct. 16 order by justices Ricky Polston, Jorge Labarga, Alan Lawson, Barbara Lagoa and Carlos Muniz comes after an appeals court refused in August to grant the state’s request for a new hearing in a cannabis business licensing dispute brought by Florigrown, one of Florida’s medical cannabis businesses.

In July, an appellate court sided with Florigrown after it sued the state upon being denied a license. The Tampa-based company argued that the state’s vertical integration requirement for cannabis businesses is unconstitutional under the constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical cannabis in the state. In late August, the 1st District Court of Appeals asked the Florida Supreme Court to weigh in on the case, but five judges recused themselves from deciding whether the case should get a hearing by the full court, and the rest of the judges were split in their decision.

Florida lawmakers instituted the vertical integration requirement and capped the total number of medical cannabis business licenses in the state when implementing the medical cannabis program, but last year, a Leon County Circuit Court judge supported Florida’s argument and issued a temporary injunction, ordering the state to begin issuing more medical cannabis business licenses. That’s when the state appealed.

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