Florida medical marijuana rules for new businesses released after years of delayPosted by On

After the better part of a decade, the Florida Department of Health’s rules on how businesses can enter the state’s medical marijuana industry are finally here.

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The Department of Health, which regulates the state’s multibillion-dollar medical marijuana industry, released two emergency rules on Monday that indicate, in broad strokes, the application process for companies seeking a medical marijuana treatment center license, which permits them to cultivate, process and dispense medical marijuana.

One of the rules released Monday says the state will hand out the licenses by “batching” them — meaning not all of the new licenses will be available at once. But the new rule did not specify when the application window will open or exactly how many licenses will be up for grabs with each batch. It’s also not clear how far apart the batches will open.

In an email, a spokesperson for the Department of Health said the new rules also incorporate the “citrus preference,” which gives preference to applicants who own at least one facility used to process citrus and who will use that facility to process marijuana.

Because of protracted litigation and regulatory inaction on the part of the state, just 22 companies are currently licensed to operate in Florida’s medical marijuana industry. Just 19 medical marijuana providers have set up a store.

State law requires regulators to create four new treatment center licenses for every 100,000 new patients that enter the…

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