Two companies hoping to open medical marijuana dispensaries are suing the city of Miami over its continued blocking of such operations.
The Miami Herald reports MRC44 and an unnamed second company filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The suit argues the businesses should open based off Florida voters approving medical marijuana in a constitutional amendment during the 2016 election.
In denying applications for companies to open dispensaries since the amendment passed, Miami city officials have argued that federal law trumps the Florida constitution – with federal law still categorizing marijuana as an illegal substance.
“We will address it court,” City Attorney Victoria Méndez said Thursday, according to the paper.
Commissioners postponed a vote on MRC44’s application due to the lawsuit and asking for a judge to settle the case of federal law versus state law.
"Let’s be honest, the voters approved medicinal marijuana, this is no longer an illicit drug, this is a medicine that people count on for their children, for their family members, for cancer, for pain, for seizures," Commissioner Ken Russell said.
MRC44 and the second company own property on the same block in the city limits of Miami, located off Northeast 11th Street near famed nightclub E11EVEN Miami.
Since the amendment passed, cities such as Miami Beach and Coral Gables are among those in South Florida who have allowed companies to open medical marijuana dispensaries. At those locations, any person with a card from the state of Florida can purchase products to treat medical conditions.
Patrick Masucci, the owner of Canna Ocho, a smoke shop in Little Havana, said it's a shame he's not allowed to sell medical marijuana.
"You got a lot of patients, medical patients that come here with their medical marijuana card, always asking us 'where is the closest dispensary?' and we’re like 'you’re gonna drive to North Miami Beach,'" Masucci said.