FLORIDA GOVERNOR SUGGESTS INCREASE IN LICENSE CHARGE FOR MARIJUANA BUSINESS
As medicinal marijuana businesses continue to see an upturn in profit from the increase in the sector in the state, Gov. Ron DeSantis stated that cannabis business owners must pay more for the chance to conduct business in the state due to the fact that Florida medicinal marijuana businesses continue to reap huge profits. According to DeSantis, The state of Florida should increase its charge for licenses to operate marijuana businesses.
It was unclear whether the Governor was referring to medicinal marijuana businesses that are already operating in the state or those that are yet to establish operations in Florida but are interested. According to the Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU), a medical marijuana dispensary license already costs an application fee of $60,063. Investors are eagerly anticipating the opportunity to stake their claims in Florida, which has an estimated population of 22 million citizens and close to 561,177 approved medical marijuana patients as of May 2021.
Anticipating an increase in demand for marijuana in the state, a Florida law passed in 2017 set up a framework for the medical marijuana industry and specified when new licenses would be issued as more patients received approval. State health officials were required by law to issue at least an additional 22 licenses in order to keep up with the patient population. Each of the medical marijuana firms operating in Florida that applied for a license to sell THC cannabis spent a little over $60,000 in the initial round of marijuana license applications. Businesses must also pay every two years to renew their licenses.
The increase in demand for marijuana is what the governor is hoping to take advantage of, identifying the need to satiate demand with increased supply as an avenue to increase state profit. The governor however was aware that this was no small feat and would require a rigorous process in order to come to fruition, highlighting that it was not something that could be changed by administrative rule.
The governor was making a reference to a section of the 2017 law that sets a cap on the fees the Department of Health can charge businesses for permits and renewals. According to the statute, the state may only levy fees to fund the expenses of running the medicinal marijuana program, a research initiative, and a public-health campaign. In order to help defray program costs, the law also gave health officials the power to set up supplemental licensure fees although the health department has never approved such charges.