The medical marijuana industry has been booming in Florida, and even more growth can now be expected as the application for medical marijuana licenses will soon re-open in April this year after more than a 5-year hiatus.
This move was announced earlier this month by Gov. Ron DeSantis’s administration. It stated that health officials would accept a total of 22 applications between April 24 and April 28. This will double the number of vertically integrated operators that are currently active in the state.
A Multi-Million Dollar Industry
Though the number of new licenses may not seem significant, state law permits each individual operator to have multiple locations for both the cultivation and sale of marijuana. Businesses have since taken full advantage of this opportunity to do just that. In fact, a 2023 estimate puts the combined total of locations of the 22 existing operators at 413.
Even now, this multi-million dollar industry in Florida stands as the largest and most profitable medical-only cannabis market in the US. A striking contrast to many other states who have only
recently launched medical marijuana programs and are getting their first sales.
For an even clearer comparison, take note of statistics put forth by the Florida Atlantic University which highlight that as of January 27 this year, more than 5.4 million Americans are medical cannabis patients, out of which 788,297 reside in Florida alone. This represents a 1,107.01% increase since medical marijuana became legal in the state in 2014, almost a decade ago.
Some estimates from last year even put the annual sales in the state at a whopping $1.5 billion.
Despite the fact that laws were put in place in previous years to ensure that new licenses were granted, this was not being done and applications have been closed since 2017. After the new governor took office in 2019, this was one process that was neglected by the DeSantis administration until now.
Due to the number of medical marijuana patients registered in the state, this latest move will prove crucial to meeting the increasing demand. Though costly, it’s also an attractive prospect for investors who may want to compete in such a lucrative and expanding market.
Hopeful For An Adult-Use Market
In the state of New York, regulators recently awarded an additional 30 licenses for recreational marijuana to local qualifiers. Though there are current legal concerns to be sorted out, this is a promising step. Similar stories across the US havesparked conversations and debates while also fuelling a growing interest in the cannabis industry.
As of January 2023, 21 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Guam, have made moves to legalize recreational marijuana. Therefore, given these latest developments and many others, even more businesses in Flordia are looking toward positive news as it relates to the adult-use market for cannabis.
One of those is Trulieve Cannabis, Florida’s largest company in the industry which runs over 180 cannabis dispensaries in the state and is a multistate operator existing in 11 states across the US.
To date, they have contributed 20 million dollars towards the constitutional amendment that would allow for the legalization of cannabis for all adults 21 and older. This would come to pass once it is accepted for the ballot in 2024 and goes on to be approved by 60% or more of state voters.
The state Supreme Court is already evaluating the constitutionality of that proposed initiative.
On the bright side, studies to support this move are also impactful. A December 2022 study that was published by the American Medical Association revealed a decrease in marijuana-related arrests in stated complete legalization.
Stakeholders are therefore eagerly awaiting the outcome.
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