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Breaking News: Judge Lifts Cap on Marijuana Dispensaries in Florida

Judge Karen Gievers of Leon County, Florida, rules against the previous decisions and lifts the mandatory cap on the number of dispensaries.

The 2017 law limited the number of licenses that could be provided to so-called medical marijuana treatment centers.

  • set an initial cap of 25 dispensaries for each operator.

  • slowly increased as the number of eligible patients in a statewide database increased.

The Department of Health had argued that the temporary cap was needed to give state and local officials more time to consider regulations for retail medical marijuana stores.

“The evidence clearly and conclusively establishes beyond any doubt that conveniently located medical marijuana dispensaries (as opposed to vehicle delivery, the only allowed alternative means of dispensing) promote authorized users’ improved access to medical marijuana products and related information and services, at lower cost, and promote public safety (the stated goals for regulation in the amendment),” Gievers wrote in the new ruling.

Florida's constitutional amendment 2 did NOT include restrictions on the number of dispensaries, Gievers wrote in Friday’s 22-page ruling.

The statutory cap “erects barriers that needlessly increase patients’ costs, risks, and inconvenience, delay access to products, and reduce patients’ practical choice, information, privacy and safety,” the judge wrote, adding that the limit on the number of dispensaries, “even if time limited, is the kind of regulation that the amendment was intended to eliminate.”

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