The New Lotto: Medical Marijuana Licenses

close up view of a craps table with dices and fiches (3d render)

Anyone who has been following the development of the medical marijuana industry has probably followed the ongoing creation of medical marijuana licenses in different states.

If you haven’t, here is the quick rundown: In each state that legalized marijuana, the state had to grant a license to certain companies in order to allow them to grow and/or sell it. But a big issue of contention has been WHO gets awarded these licenses, and how. There are currently two competing schools of thought, and they include either awarding licenses on a merit-based system, or a lottery-system.

And both have been causing headaches.

Different states have adopted different measures. Florida originally used a lottery-based system (where companies would apply, and then random applicants would be drawn and given licenses) until the state was sued on the grounds that this system did not allow the best qualified applicants to obtain a license.

On the flipside is a state like Arizona, who specifically uses a random lotto system to avoid lawsuits which other states have gotten for what looks like biased decisions.

In fact, no matter what system a state picks, it seems unlikely to stave off controversy. Lotto based systems continue to be accused of picking less qualified applicants, whereas merit-based systems continue to get flack for siding with bigger companies and excluding up-and-coming entrepreneurs.

In the end, while this is a problem for growers, it can also become a problem for consumers, who may have to jostle with less-than-stellar medical marijuana from a less qualified grower, or by a big business monopoly down the line.

We don’t have any immediate answers to the problem, but we wanted to take the time and give a quick explanation on why this is something you should be aware of. And if we find out that someone has proposed a solution to this issue (or a new system is being created in a different state) we’ll be sure to let you know.


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