Florida voters have approved cannabis for medical use on November 8, 2016 and Florida became the first state in the South with a full-scale medical cannabis program. The new amendment states that patients with illnesses of the “same kind or class as or comparable to” serious illnesses, such as cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy would be eligible to access medical marijuana.
Under a 2014 law that legalized a limited form of medical cannabis, patient don’t have access to medical cannabis until they’ve been seeing their doctor for at least three months.
With new amendment it will be available to open Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). These entities can cultivate, process and distribute medical cannabis and related products.
Another major change is permitting businesses with Department of Agriculture certificates that have operated in Florida for five years to apply. Previously, only nurseries that had been in business for at least 30 years could apply.
In 2016, Florida started allowing existing CBD operators to sell full-strength THC products to terminally ill patients. And as of January 2017 – after voters passed Amendment 2 – anyone with a qualifying medical cannabis condition is permitted to purchase full-strength THC products, though smokable forms of flower are still prohibited.
The new law, approved during a June (2017) special session, allows the state’s medical-marijuana operators to sell edible products – currently banned in Florida – to qualified patients, so long as the products aren’t geared toward children. The law is also requiring health officials to issue 10 new “medical marijuana treatment center” licenses. More licenses must be issued once the number of patients in a statewide registry – now at 37,830 – reaches 100,000. Each license holder can operate 25 dispensaries.
Approved medical marijuana treatment centers, formerly called dispensing organizations, are the only businesses allowed to grow, process, or sell medical marijuana in Florida. Each medical marijuana treatment center must receive authorization at three stages, (1) cultivation authorization, (2) processing authorization, and (3) dispensing authorization, prior to dispensing low-THC or medical marijuana. Currently, six of the 12 medical marijuana treatment centers have received dispensing authorization and are authorized to deliver statewide.
The total patient pool is now just shy of 37,000, Florida Department of Health reported.
The medical cannabis sales would be $10.7 million in 2017, $277.7 million in 2018 and $1.1 billion in 2019.
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