On Wednesday, Florida regulators issued a long-awaited medical cannabis business license to the state’s first Black marijuana company owner, an inevitable result of a 2017 law that required the state expand the MMJ industry.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the tentative winner of the license is Terry Donnel Gwinn, one of the owners of Gwinn Brothers Farm in McAlpin, a small town in Suwanee County in northern Florida.
Gwinn beat out 11 other applicants for the license, and perhaps the only certainty now is that there will be a wave of lawsuits from those who lost out, the Sentinel reported.
Of the 22 existing medical marijuana companies in Florida, only five were granted business permits originally, while the other 17 only won through “drawn-out legal and administrative challenges,” some of which took years to play out in the courts.
Since then, some of the licenses have sold for as much as $50 million, the Sentinel reported, a sign of how valuable the permits can be and why litigation is a near-certain result.
The only criteria for applicants earlier this year was that the owners be Black and have at least five years’ of farming history in Florida.
The state is also set to issue another 21 vertically integrated MMJ business permits at some point, though when – and how much they’ll cost – is still unclear.