George IndestBy George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law

On February 15, 2019, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) appealed a circuit judge’s ruling on a law that capped the number of medical marijuana licenses and dispensaries in the state. Attorneys for the DOH filed a notice that said they were challenging a February 2019, ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers. This action seems somewhat hypocritical, given Governor DeSantis’s recent statements. After all, he appoints the Florida Surgeon General, who is also the head of the Florida Department of Health.

Her Prior Ruling.

Judge Gievers struck down Florida’s medical marijuana dispensary cap and sided with the medical marijuana operator Trulieve. She found that the limit on dispensaries violated a 2016 constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. Gievers wrote that the dispensary cap, instituted by the Florida Legislature in 2017, “erects barriers” that increase costs and delay access to medical marijuana products.

The lawsuit was originally filed in 2018 by Trulieve, a multi-state company that currently has the most dispensaries in Florida. You can read more about that here.

Unconstitutional Cap.

In 2017, Florida state lawmakers capped the number of dispensaries a medical marijuana operator could open at 25 each. The cap was increased to 30 when the number of patients passed the 100,000 threshold and remains current today. Florida’s new governor, Ron DeSantis, has already demanded that state lawmakers loosen tough restrictions on the medical marijuana industry.

These restrictions have created a series of other suits, including a ban on smoking medical marijuana. In 2018, Gievers found that the smoking ban violated the 2016 constitutional amendment, prompting the DOH to appeal. Click here to learn more.

Stay up to date on news and changing regulations for the medical marijuana industry in Florida and the United States by checking our Marijuana Law Blog regularly.

Contact Experienced Health Law Attorneys for Medical and Recreational Marijuana Concerns.

The Health Law Firm attorneys can assist health care providers and facilities, such as doctors, pharmacists and pharmacies, wanting to participate in the medical marijuana industry. We can properly draft and complete the applications for registration, permitting and/or licensing, while complying with Florida law. We can also represent doctors, pharmacies and pharmacists facing proceedings brought by state regulators or agencies.

To contact The Health Law Firm please call (407) 331-6620 and visit our website at


Saunders, Jim. “Florida health agency challenges ruling on medical marijuana dispensaries.” Orlando Sentinel. (February 20, 2019). Web.

“Florida to challenge court ruling that would up medical cannabis dispensary caps.” Marijuana Business Daily. (February 19, 2019). Web.

About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law is an attorney with The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Avenue, Altamonte Springs, Florida 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.

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