There is no doubt an overwhelming amount to know about medical cannabis in Florida and the system around it, and the purpose of this post is not to review it all here. Instead, I wanted to quickly run through some of the questions (and misconceptions) I have encountered so far as a medical cannabis advocate. In full disclosure, I would encourage you to double check all the answers provided here, especially given the rapidly evolving landscape of cannabis policy in Florida. That said, the following is a review of some of the most common inquiries I receive:
How does Florida’s Medical Cannabis System Work?
Florida is vertically integrated, meaning a single company must have control of every single part of the process from seed to sale. This is why, for example, you cannot seek a permit specifically to grow, dispense, process, deliver, etc. It’s literally all or one. Up until a few weeks ago, there were 14 licenses granted with 12 of those licenses actually active. Due to recent policy changes, the number of licenses has expanded to at least 22 (as reflected on the Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s website).
Can I grow my own plants or have someone grow plants I own in any capacity?
NO! There is currently no home grow in Florida and there is absolutely no way you can own the rights to any plants. There are no “collectives” or anything of that sort currently in existence. Sadly, I would not hold my breath waiting for this issue.
How do I invest in Florida’s cannabis industry?
You kind of don’t. Because of the restrictions explained above, the only way one can really invest in Florida cannabis is to buy stock in one of the companies (check out the Cannabis Investment Club for more info). That said, almost every single one if publicly traded. If you have a particularly large wallet, you can also invest in ancillary product funds such as those run by Phyto Partners, or (indirectly) buy a building that a dispensary could move into.
Is there actual smokeable flower available in Florida now?
Yes, but you should know that there are special restrictions. Even if one is already an active patient, he or she must contact a recommending physician to fill out a special form that specifically allows for smokeable flower. Additionally, the allowance grants the patient a maximum of 2.5oz over a 35-day period, and one can only have a maximum of 4oz at any given time. Flower is available whole in quantities of 1/8oz (~$40-50) or in pre-rolled joints.
Which company has the best products?
Let’s be clear: while there are some objective measures we can turn to (e.g., THC, CBD, and terpene percentages, lack of toxins, etc.) who has the “best” products is largely based on subjective taste and preference. This answer may seem like a copout, but the bottom line is that you need to find the products that work best for you, which will vary based on need and preference. Additionally, I think it is worth remembering that many of these companies are new and need time to learn. Be honest with your product reviews, but don’t write a company off completely because of one bad experience.