Medical marijuana provider Trulieve sues state over store limits

Trulieve, a medical marijuana provider, on Monday filed a “constitutional challenge” against the state’s Department of Health over how many retail stores it can open, and where, under current law.

An attorney for the company, which is seeking “non-monetary declaratory or injunctive relief,” provided a copy of the complaint by George Hackney Inc., the Gadsden County nursery that does business as Trulieve.

The lawsuit follows a similar administrative action last year that sought to lock down its “dispensary rights.”

It wanted “to clarify that the allowed number and location of (medical marijuana) dispensaries (under Florida law) does not setoff or divest dispensary rights vested under its dispensing organization license,” that filing said.

Trulieve now is asking a court to declare its rights under law to open new stores. The case for now has been assigned to Tallahassee-based Circuit Judge John Cooper.

Its complaint, filed Monday in Leon Circuit Civil court, says its original application made clear “its plan to locate dispensaries throughout the state. Upon comparative review, DOH granted Trulieve’s application without any limitation on the number of dispensaries.”

State laws passed in 2014 and 2016 “imposed (no) limit on the number of dispensaries that dispensing organizations could establish … 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.”

The department “did not express any objection to this plan,” the complaint says, and the constitutional amendment on medical marijuana passed by voters in 2016 “does not limit the number of dispensaries for licensed suppliers.”

But an implementing bill, passed last year, sets a limit on dispensaries statewide and “further subdivides this statewide quota into five regional quotas based on population … This cap on dispensaries expires April 1, 2020.”


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