There have been changes in the state of medical marijuana in Florida for 2019. We have new dispensaries, new products, and new users. We also have a potential for change in our medical marijuana laws. Here’s a breakdown of what’s new and upcoming.
More Registered Users
We ended 2018 with over 209,000 patients on the state’s registry for medical marijuana. That number is up 329% in the last 12 months. This is a huge change in the state of medical marijuana here.
The current patient count in Florida, as reported on December 28, 2018, is 209,940. That is a remarkable change from then end of 2017, when the Office of Medical Marijuana Use reported 63,896.
More users means more dispensaries. At the end of 2018, each grower/dispensary license allowed 30 retail locations. With each 100,000 patients registered, the license is allowed another 5 locations. As Florida crossed the 200K mark in December, 2018, the dispensaries allowed should be 35 per license.
While 2017 ended with only 25 store front dispensaries in the entire state, we start 2019 with 83 locations.
Currently, there are 7 companies operating store front dispensaries throughout Florida. Here’s the breakdown:
- Trulieve- currently operating 23 dispensaries.
- Curaleaf- currently operating 19 dispensaries
- Surterra- currently operating 17 dispensaries
- Liberty Health- currently operating 8 dispensaries
- Knox Medical- currently operating 7 dispensaries
- Vidacann- currently operating 5 dispensaries
- Altmed (Müv)- currently operating 3 dispensaries
For a list of Dispensaries, check out our dispensary listing page here. We update it at least once a month.
New to the Florida Market
MedMen bought Remeny Wellness and has plans for 4 dispensaries in upscale markets like Key West and West Palm Beach. In March, 2018 Fast Company wrote an article asking “Will MedMen Become The Starbucks Of Weed?” Adam Bierman, MedMen chief executive and co-founder states he wants “…the most coveted locations in Florida – locations in highly desirable and defensible market areas with high foot traffic and proximity to popular brand retailers.”
RISE dispensaries, operated by Green Thumb Industries (GTI), are set to open 9 locations in the coming months. GTI purchased KSGNF, which currently only has delivery options in state. Leases have been reported as signed in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Deerfield Beach, Hallandale Beach, Delray Beach, Bonita Springs, Pinellas Park, Oakland Park and Kendall.
Potential Law Changes
As the number of products and dispensaries change and adapt to the current state law, Florida potentially has other changes coming to its compassionate care law. On January 8, 2019, the 1st District Court of Appeal will begin hearing arguments regarding the ban on smoking medicinal marijuana.
In May, 2018, Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers ruled that the smoking ban violated the voter approved constitutional amendment. The Florida Department of Health immediately appealed the ruling. While Judge Gievers ruling allowed the smoking of medical marijuana, a stay was given until the issue is appealed.
Other pending legal battles exist over how medical marijuana is grown and distributed. Tampa based Florigrown, LLC, filed suit after it was denied a license to grow and distribute mm. While the initial suit was won, Governor Scott’s administration immediately appealed the decision, just as they did in the no smoking case.
Looking Ahead with New Leaders
During a transition press conference, Lt. Governor elect Jeanette Nuñez responded to questions about Governor elect Rick De Santis’ stand on continuing the states appeal of medical marijuana lawsuits. “I think he has a different perspective than Gov. Scott. I think he wants the will of the voters to be implemented,” Nuñez said. She also stated Desantis “has said he’s not interested in continuing that fight.”
The new Governor and other state officials will be sworn into office on January 8, 2018. The same day the Court of Appeal is slated to being arguments on the smoking ban. On December 18, 2018, John Morgan tweeted, “More good news on the frontlines. Our new @GovRonDeSantis will drop the #MedicalMarijuana appeal and allow smoke I hear @MattGaetz, a @realDonaldTrump confidant and good friend to me continues to fight for us.” John Morgan, the attorney powerhouse behind legalization efforts, represents the plaintiffs in the challenge to smoke medical marijuana.
Why Smoking Matters
Even if you have no intention of smoking medical marijuana, this should matter to you. One of the biggest benefits of lifting the smoking ban is the availability of the flower. And one of the biggest benefits of having the flower is the price.
Currently, all medical marijuana products have some degree of processing. Creating tinctures, oils, vape cartridges, inhalers, capsules, and creams require processing the marijuana with other ingredients and methods. The processing and added ingredients drive up the prices for MM products.
You don’t have to smoke the flower. While smoking the dried flower is familiar to many, it doesn’t have to be smoked to provide benefits. Many dry herb vaporizer pens and tabletop units can provide an inhalable product for patients. Other benefits would be the availability to make homemade edible products at a reduced cost.
Another reason why we would love to see the flower available? Because once the flower is available to be purchased, after the initial hubbub calms down, the fight to grow your own medical marijuana can begin. Too many seniors could benefit from MM but cannot afford it. Being able to grow small quantities of medicine for your own consumption is something we would definitely get behind.
The State of Medical Marijuana Florida 2019
Even with dispensaries being open for over a year, the medical marijuana landscape is very new to Florida. There have been many changes in the product availability, the access to that product, and the companies providing the product. Looking forward, 2019 should bring more explosive growth to our MM landscape.
What kind of changes would you like to see in the coming year? Drop a comment below and tell us all about it.