Legalization of medical cannabis in Florida passed with more than a 70% majority. Marijuana dispensaries (or, as they are called in Florida, Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers) must operate as nonprofits to be eligible for licensure.
How to open a Dispensary in Florida:
Currently, Florida is in the process of expanding its medical cannabis program, issuing additional licenses for MMTCs per 100,000 registered patients. Despite the booming industry, actually starting a marijuana dispensary in Florida is complicated. Read more about marijuana businesses in Florida below.
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When was cannabis made legal
With the passing of Amendment 2, Florida became the 26th state to legalize a medical cannabis program that includes whole-plant remedies, THC included. Amendment 2 was approved with over 70% of the vote, amending the state constitution to allow qualifying medical patients to possess, obtain and use strains of medical cannabis that are potent in psychoactive THC, which was previously restricted, even for terminally ill patients.
The Department of Health released a full set of standards for medical marijuana treatments centers on July 3, 2017, but some aspects are still unclear. For example, the department has yet to decide whether they will operate as a non-profit entity, or if the centers will be allowed to operate on a for-profit business model.
How many marijuana businesses are there in the state
There is not currently a limit set on how many dispensaries are allowed. Five were initially approved, but due to errors, seven were issued. The old law had a provision stating that once more than 250,000 patients registered, the state could add 3 more. Now, the new Constitutional Amendment appears to grant the Department of Health carte blanche over the number of dispensaries. Currently, 6 dispensaries are operating in the state.
Profits of the cannabis industry in Florida
Although there are currently no financial data, Florida’s cannabis industry profits are expected to skyrocket by 2021. There are forecasts speculating numbers as high as $1,523,700,000 within four years.
How to open a dispensary in Florida
Marijuana businesses in Florida are classified as “Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers.” These legal entities are authorized to grow, possess, sell and transport cannabis products.
Licenses are obtained by the Florida Department of Health, which is the regulatory agency manage everything involved with the registration of MMTCs, including the issuance of a license to operate, renewal of a license, and the suspension and revocation of licenses for MMTCs that fail to comply with operational standards.
The amended legislation of January 2017, essentially paved the way for 10 more medical marijuana treatment centers to open. When the next increment of 100,000 new eligible patients is added to the patient registry, another license for MMTC will become available.
Of those ten MMTC licenses, only 2 or 3 will be open to new applicants, because five are allocated to those who applied in 2015 but were not originally selected. Another license is set aside for a group of black farmers and one to two (1-2) licenses will be given to facilities currently processing citrus fruits.
In order to apply for a medical marijuana business license, interested parties must pay a non-refundable $60,000 fee. Under the amended law, it is up to the Department of Health to decide the integration of the license.
Starting a marijuana business in Florida may take a painfully long time. Applicants from 2015, are still awaiting licenses. Once you receive a license, allow another year to get your business running.
Links to consulting companies that can help open a Florida marijuana dispensary
Looking to start a marijuana dispensary in Florida? The consulting companies listed below provide a wide range of services from assisting with state licensing requirements and applications to running and stocking your business.
- Canna Advisors
- Medicine Man Technologies
- Green Rush Consulting
- Quantum 9 Inc.
- Comprehensive Cannabis Consulting