TALLAHASSEE — Health officials won’t be able to meet a legislatively mandated Tuesday deadline to hand out five new medical-marijuana licenses, the head of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use said Friday.
The law called for an overall increase of 10 licenses, some of which have already been awarded, by Oct. 3. It also specified that one license goes to a black farmer who had been part of settled lawsuits about discrimination by the federal government against black farmers.
In a letter to legislative leaders signed Friday, Bax wrote that his office has “worked diligently to implement” the new law, but that the issuance of five new medical marijuana licenses by Tuesday posed an “extraordinarily challenging deadline.”
Bax pointed out that 13 administrative challenges were filed after the agency issued the first medical-marijuana licenses in 2015. The agency is still in litigation over two of the challenges, he said.
The upcoming licenses will be the first time the state has opened the application process to businesses that did not participate in the first selection process in 2015, creating intense interest in what could be one of the biggest medical-marijuana markets in the nation.
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