This week Florida health officials signed an agreement on two more marijuana operations, bringing the total to 11 businesses licensed to grow, process and distribute medical marijuana to a rapidly-growing number of patients. This is good news for marijuana stocks, with Florida being such a critical state on the fight of mass legalization.
The Florida Department of Health gave the green light to the Arcadia-based Sun Bulb Company and to GST Enterprises, which owns Eustis-based Treadwell Nursery. The businesses now join two additional medical-marijuana operations licensed last week and have a 30 day window to request authorization to start cultivating. A Jacksonville-based Loop’s Nursery and Greenhouses, is awaiting approval according to Mara Gambineri, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health.
The most recent round of medical marijuana licenses comes from a new law directed at carrying out constitutional amendment that legalized medical marijuana for patients with devastating conditions. In June the legislature approved the law after voters overwhelmingly passed the constitutional amendment in November. In 2014, Florida lawmakers legalized usage of non-euphoric pot, touching off legal and administrative obstacles as companies look for a limited amount of licenses in five regions across the state.
The treatment that was approved in 2014 has made the way for the full marijuana laws now on the books. The law approved during June’s session mandates health officials to issue additional licenses; the four new licenses come following seven that were issued at an earlier date.
Marijuana licenses would be given to businesses whose applications were reviewed and scored by the Department of Health and who were denied licenses, or who had underwent one or more administrative judicial obstacles as of January. The law also required health officials to issue licenses to applicants who had a ranking of within one point of the highest applicants in their regions.
The four new medical marijuana operators, along with Loop’s, were all involved in legal challenges after licenses were approved to other applicants in 2014. The new law also gives health officials until Oct. 1 to distribute five more licenses.