Florida Judge Rules in Favor of $1.3 Million Renewal Fee for Medical Marijuana Licenses

An administrative law judge in Florida has ruled that the state’s drastic increase in the cost of renewing medical marijuana licenses is legal and valid.

Late last year the Florida Department of Health increased the state’s $60,000 biennial renewal fee for those running medical marijuana businesses to $1.33 million, an increase of over 2,000%.

Judge William Horgan ruled that the fee is representative of the “plain language” that was intending by lawmakers, saying that it “carries out to the letter” a legislative mandate that states the department must adopt rules establish procedures for “the issuance and biennial renewal of licenses… including initial application and biennial renewal fees sufficient to cover the costs of implementing and administering [the state’s medical marijuana program]”.

The ruling comes from an administrative challenge brought by Sanctuary Cannabis, a medical marijuana operator that argued the fee increase was “wholly without logic or reason”.

“[The fee increase] is not without thought, illogical, or irrational”, said Judge Horgan. “It carries out to the letter the Legislature’s directive that the department adopt rules establishing MMTC license fees”.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016. An intiative to legalize recreational marijuana will be considered by voters during the 2024 presidential election.

According to polling released in September, 60% of adults in Florida say they support the initiative.

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