As I reported last week, the Florida Department of Health has proposed new rules which impose further limitations on the already restrictive rules for dispensaries established by Florida’s Charlotte’s Web law.
At a hearing held in Tallahassee on July 7th, a group of cannabis entrepreneurs packed the public hearing and spoke out against the rules. Those who attended voiced concerns that echoed the most often criticized parts of the new regulations, namely, the creation of a monopolistic system with only 1 dispensary for each of the state’s 5 regions and the high barriers that prevent nearly all applicants from becoming one of those dispensing organizations.
While it is true that Amendment 2 will open medical marijuana up to a larger group of patients and will endow them with constitutionally protected access to cannabis, it is still uncertain how that will impact the Department of Health’s approach to delivering marijuana to patients. My primary concern is that the Department will simply seek to transition the overly restrictive Charlotte’s Web dispensary model into the new Amendment 2 system. That could be devastating to many cannabis entrepreneurs and would certainly bring forward legal challenges to any such system.
One thing that we can all take away from this process is that, even if Amendment 2 is approved in November and a broader access to cannabis is created, it likely won’t come without a fight.