Equity Project State Briefing

Social Equity

Social Equity Definition / Criteria

Florida does not offer a state social equity program to benefit medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.

Social Equity Provisions

Florida does not have an informal social equity program that would fit MCBA standards. However, Florida currently has three provisions that arguably are aimed to provide for some type of cannabis industry equity. These provisions include: 

(1) Reserving one of the ten licenses, that were supposed to be available in 2017, for a Black farmer who is a class member of Pigford v. Glickman. (The Pigford settlement addressed racial discrimination in farm lending during the 1980s and 1990s.) This theoretical license holder would be exempt from the requirement of having to be registered to do business in the state for the five consecutive years before submitting the licensing application. However, the cost associated with this license type is double that of a general applicant. 

 (2) Rrequiring applicants to have strong diversity plans. (notably, no further guidance is given within the regulations);   

(3) Rrequiring applicants’ management, ownership, and employment to reflect an involvement of minorities and veterans. Applicant’s seeking to renew their license, which occurs biennially, must show the effectiveness of their diversity plan by reporting the following: representation of and recruitment efforts to employ minorities and veterans as well as a record of contracts for services with minority business and veteran businesses.


( Senate Bill No. 8-A (8)2 b, line 706. )
( Senate Bill No. 8-A (8)(b)) line 824. )
(Senate Bill No. 8-A (8)(b)(10) line 887. )
( 64ER21-16. Application for Pigford/BFL MMTC Licensure. Subsection 3 (b))
Chapter 64-4. 64-4.002 Initial Application Requirements for Dispensing Organizations. Subsection (1) .

Fee Waivers and Reductions

  • Fee Waivers / Reductions:

Florida does not offer fee waivers or reductions to support medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition.

Other Financial Support for Social Equity Applicants and Licensees

There are no resources derived from cannabis related revenue allocated specifically to improve the quality of life for communities impacted by the War on Drugs. Florida law mandates that  $10 of  every identification card fee (medical patient’s card) be allocated to FAMU’s Medical Marijuana Education and Research Initiative. The initiative has the purpose of educating minorities about marijuana for medical use and the impact of the unlawful use of marijuana on minority communities. However, these funds were withheld until late 2019.

License Priorities and Set Asides

Florida does not offer state-level licensing priority or set-asides to support medical cannabis licensees who have been disproportionately harmed by cannabis prohibition. Florida does reserve one license for a Black farmer who is a class member of the state’s Pigford v. Glickman settlement.

Other Licensing Provisions

License Caps

  • License Caps:

Florida is a limited license state and has licensing caps based on the state’s medical marijuana patient population. Florida was initially permitted to distribute 17 licenses, however, Florida may distribute an extra four medical marijuana treatment center licenses for each additional 100, 000 active medical patients. Additionally, local municipalities may opt out of participating in the market.


​Fla. Stat. Ann. § 381.986. Section 8 Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers. Subsection (a)(2)(a-c).

Application Selection Process

  • Selection System:

Florida distributes medical cannabis licenses through a merit system.


Fla. Admin. Code Ann. r. 64-4.002. subsection (5)(b)

Felony Disqualification on Ownership

  • Ownership Exclusion for Felony Convictions:
  • Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:

See below – same as employee criminal records

Employee Criminal Records

  • Conviction Restrictions for Employees:
  • Exemption for Cannabis Offenses:

Florida Statute § 381.986 subsection (9) “Background Screening”  in combination with  Florida Administrative Code § 64-4.208 MMTC Background Screening requires employees, managers and owners of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers to pass a level 2 background check. Disqualifying convictions are specifically listed within Florida Statute § 435.04, subsection 2-4 and Chapter 837 (perjury), 895 (racketeering), and 896 (money laundering). Notably, drug and paraphernalia related convictions, including cannabis convictions listed in Chapter 893, are a disqualifier if the offense was a felony or involved a minor (Chapter 893; Section 817.563, relating to fraudulent sale of controlled substances.).


Florida Statute § 381.986. subsection (9) Background Screening
Florida Administrative Code § 64-4.208. MMTC Background Screening

Availability of Expungements

  • Expungements:

Florida law does not have any criminal justice reform provisions benefiting communities impacted by cannabis prohibition. There are currently no vehicles for individuals to expunge their cannabis related conviction. Individuals with felony cannabis convictions are prohibited from employment, management or ownership within the medical cannabis industry. There are still statewide criminal penalties for possession and sale of cannabis -with possession of just an ounce being a felony offense punishable by up to five years of incarceration. (Though some municipalities have given law enforcement discretion to essentially decriminalize possession of less than 20 gram and implement civil penalties instead.).