Medical Marijuana Provider Challenges Dispensary Limits

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) — Trulieve, Florida’s largest medical marijuana business, is asking a Tallahassee judge to strike down a state law that limits the number of dispensaries marijuana companies can operate, saying the restriction “arbitrarily impairs product availability and safety” and “unfairly penalizes” pot providers.

Gadsden County-based Trulieve is challenging the 25-dispensary limit established by state lawmakers last year, arguing the cap is two fewer than the company had applied for before the limit went into effect.

The complaint, filed in Leon County circuit court Tuesday, alleges the limit on the number of dispensaries is intended in part to temporarily suppress competition among pot operators, called “medical marijuana treatment centers.”

The cap on dispensaries was included in a law, passed during a special session last year, intended to implement a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida.

The lawsuit alleges that the dispensary restrictions violate the constitutional amendment “by arbitrarily and unreasonably depriving Trulieve of property or liberty rights without substantive due process.” The company wants a judge to make Trulieve exempt from the 2017 restrictions.

“The right to compete statewide without restriction was an essential part of Trulieve’s business plan and a significant incentive to enter this novel business,” David Miller, an attorney representing Trulieve, wrote in the 10-page complaint. “In reliance on the statutory policy to encourage statewide competition, Trulieve sought to add dispensary locations around the state, which benefits patients and the public.”

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said in a press release that the “arbitrary” dispensary caps limit patient access.

“The restrictions force us to use extremely expensive long-distance delivery and build dispensaries on a model based on geographic distribution, not where patients live,” she said. “This not only restricts access to patients in need, but forces higher prices.”

Because of the cap, the

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