Recently, an appeals-court judge upbraided Florida health officials for not following up on promises to grant additional medical cannabis licenses as required by state law.

District Court of Appeal Judge Ross Bilbrey said potential applicants are "understandably frustrated" and offered a legal playbook for cannabis entrepreneurs who have been shut out of the market for years.

In the meantime, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration continues to delay the issuance of new licenses. A 2017 law, which created a framework for the state's medical marijuana industry, required the Health Department to issue new licenses as the number of authorized patients increases.

With more than 700,000 patients, the state should have issued at least 22 other licenses to keep up with the patient population, doubling the number of operators in Florida.

However, DeSantis has said that medical cannabis businesses should pay a lot more for the chance to legally operate in the Sunshine State. Florida has 22 medical-marijuana operators.

The state “should charge these people more,” DeSantis recently said. “I mean, these are very valuable licenses. I would charge them an arm and a leg. I …

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