South Florida Marijuana Advocates Sue State Over "Unconstitutional" Pot Laws

South Florida Marijuana Advocates Sue State Over “Unconstitutional” Pot Laws

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As the medical marijuana industry grows nationwide, corporate America is doing everything it can to hoard the rewards. "What we’re seeing is basically a state-by-state plan by what you could call ‘the big dogs’ of the industry," Aaron Nevins, president of the alliance, says. "There’s a barrier to entry, and it’s harming the market… It’s putting profit above patients, essentially, and it’s allowing corporate America to stamp out any competition." Nevins’ group filed its lawsuit against the Department of Health February 14 in Leon County. The state has yet to respond in court and, no date has been set for a first hearing. He says medical marijuana in Florida has gotten off to a slow start because the state has deliberately stifled competition. So far, only 13 licenses have been issued o marijuana producers, and Nevins says several of those licenses are essentially being held for ransom by companies that have no intention of ever growing pot for patients in need. "There really isn’t a lot of opportunity," Nevins says. "You have a couple of people that own a majority of the licenses. A lot of them are selling for very inflated valuations — they’re flipping for $40 to $50 million — and they’re not even producing any product." Florida’s approach to regulating a medical marijuana industry has been troubled from the get-go. New Times reported in early 2017 about the heavy lobbying and infighting over whether to expand licensing for producers. When legislators finally passed rules for the industry, they banned smokable products and kept the number of licenses to a minimum. Nevins says special interests are still drowning out patients and doctors. Though 71 percent of voters in Florida approved medical marijuana in 2016, Florida has failed to deliver for them, Nevins says, by requiring millions of […]

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