Medical Cannabis in Florida
Marijuana Venture’s ongoing series on various legal markets in the United States explores the ever-changing rules and regulations, market trends, demographics, business leaders and more for states that have legalized marijuana for medical or adult use. This month we continue our focus on the five leading medical markets, with an in-depth look at Florida, the biggest medical market in the United States in terms of patients, but one of the most limited in terms of opportunities for new businesses.
Florida lawmakers first passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014, allowing qualifying patients to use low-THC, high-CBD products to treat the symptoms of illnesses such as ALS, epilepsy and cancer. Later that year, Amendment 2, an initiative that would have created a comprehensive medical marijuana program in the state, received 57.6% of the vote, but failed to get the 60% it needed to pass.
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In 2016, 71.3% of Florida voters approved of Amendment 2, which amended the state constitution to legalize medical marijuana for a variety of illnesses. While Amendment 2 didn’t initially include smokable flower, a judge’s ruling in 2018 later removed the prohibition.
With approximately 21.6 million residents and numerous qualifying conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, Florida’s medical cannabis market was prime to become a massive market for medical marijuana operators. In many ways it is, with 389 open dispensaries and 648,186 patients enrolled as of December 10, 2021, and annual sales surpassing $1.2 billion in 2020. But as lucrative as those numbers may sound, the state has only licensed 22 businesses and the licensing process is fraught with high barriers to entry.
Marijuana Venture will continue looking at medical markets across the country in upcoming issues including Pennsylvania in March, Oklahoma in April and Missouri in May. For information about upcoming issues or to learn about advertising and sponsorship opportunities, email Editor@MarijuanaVenture.com.
A special thanks to Veterans Capital Corp. for sponsoring this issue.
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