The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) is gearing up to expand its $1.3 billion-dollar cannabis industry with its plan to award additional Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses in the Sunshine State. On December 19, 2022, the OMMU published emergency rules detailing the application process and requirements for MMTC licenses in upcoming “batching cycles.” Prospective applicants will compete for limited licenses available in each batching cycle during a 5-day application window. Dates for future application cycles are still to be determined, so check back here for future updates. This guide will provide an overview of the requirements and key considerations to adequately prepare and apply for an MMTC license in Florida.
MMTC Application Overview
Preparing for a cannabis business application is often a lengthy process that requires the collaboration of multiple professionals and can take up to several months to complete. Given the narrow application window and robust requirements, businesses interested in an MTTC license in Florida should begin preparing their application as early as possible. Licenses will be awarded on merit and scored on how applicants demonstrated their ability to operate a compliant and successful medical marijuana business. The top-scoring applicants will be awarded an MTTC license following a three-phase review process. Businesses should review the requirements carefully and take note of the key considerations below to prepare for an MTTC license application.
MMTC Application Requirements
Businesses must demonstrate they have a superior ability to cultivate, process, and dispense medical marijuana as an MTTC licensee in the Sunshine State. Operating a vertically integrated cannabis business requires substantial resources, industry experience, and capital to succeed. These are some of the key considerations that will be scored by the OMMU to determine which applicants are awarded an MTTC license. Most importantly, all applicants must show that the entity to be licensed has been registered to do business in the State of Florida for the previous five consecutive years to be eligible for an MTTC license.
Operational Plans, Team, and Experience:
The OMMU is looking for experienced business owners to participate in its expanding medical marijuana industry projected to reach over $2.5 billion by 2025. Applicants will be required to submit operational procedures detailing their ability to effectively operate each activity required by the business in compliance with state regulations. Applicants with commercial cannabis industry experience will be awarded higher scores. Experience in relatively regulated industries such as agriculture, commercial manufacturing, and retail sales will also be scored favorably.
Businesses must also demonstrate that qualified personnel has or will be hired to operate the facility including operational training. A medical director who has completed an MMTC medical director training course is required to be on staff at the time of applying. Additionally, applicants must submit a diversity plan detailing how they will ensure the involvement of minorities and minority-owned businesses in the ownership, management, employment, and contracting of the MTTC.
Capital and Financial Sources:
As mentioned previously, operating a cannabis business of this scale requires a substantial amount of capital and financial planning. Applicants must provide certified financial statements, projected budgets and the availability and source of funds to implement each phase detailed in their business plan. Businesses that fail to demonstrate an adequate source of funding to operate the business for at least two years may be scored less favorably and deemed ineligible to operate a medical marijuana business in Florida.
Businesses must strongly consider the regulatory fees in opening a cannabis business in the State of Florida. The application fee has increased from $60,830 to more than double at $146,000. License renewal fees have also increased from $60,000 to over $1 million. Governor Ron DeSantis explained the dramatic increase in fees is due to reports that licenses have sold for more than $50 million.
Applicants who applied in the Pigford/BFL batching cycle may request to have their application fee transferred to a new application batching cycle. To qualify the applicant business must be the same as the one originally submitted in the Pigford/BFL batching cycle and be accompanied by additional documentation.
The Citrus Preference:
Up to two licenses will be awarded to applicants that own a facility that are, or were, used for the canning, concentrating, or otherwise processing of citrus fruit or citrus molasses that will be used for processing medical marijuana. To be eligible applicants must provide evidence of legal ownership of the facility location in addition to other requirements and documentation.
How we can help you get a Florida Cannabis License:
At Cannabis License Experts, we provide you with the guidance to plan your cannabis business, acquire funding, navigate the legal requirements, and acquire the appropriate cannabis license for your operations.
As cannabis legalization in the U.S. develops, more and more licensed producers, cultivators, and retailers will be needed to meet the demands of consumers. Cannabis License Experts offers support from day one of starting your cannabis business, including strategic planning, floor plan preparation, site audits, SOPs, Preventive Control Plans (PCPs), and more.
Our Edibles Compliance division can provide you with a solid plan for your edibles business to help get your products on store shelves. Contact us today to discover how we can license and legalize your cannabis business to meet federal and state regulations.