2018 is now behind us (still sinking in?), and looking back, it was a good year for cannabis across the United States. Florida was no different as our medical marijuana program found itself rapidly growing even in the face of a hostile state administration and unfair regulations set to monopolize the Florida cannabis industry. With a new incoming Governor whose administration has alluded to stopping the battle against medical marijuana from their end, we have no doubt that 2019 will surpass 2018 in growth.
One major upcoming event that will occur exactly one week from today (01.01.2019) is the court hearing on the smoking ban, which we’ve spoken about at length in an earlier article. Basically, a judge already declared the smoking ban was unconstitutional, and the Rick Scott administration immediate appealed the decision, creating a temporary stalemate that prevented the program from progressing. The hearing on 01.08.2018 will address this situation again, and hopefully with a fresh administration, the result will be better this time around.
Regardless, growth of the cannabis industry across the United States is inevitable and will only accelerate in 2019. Florida looks to be one of the fastest growing markets in the nation, and there will definitely be some positive changes coming our way over the next few years. Some of those changes may become apparent even sooner than we think – here’s some changes to the day-to-day operations of Florida dispensaries we expect to see over the next 12 months:
1.) Full Flower Sales
Potentially the biggest impact to our cannabis industry will be the green light for full cannabis flower sales in Florida. How soon this will happen is currently a hot topic of speculation, with Reddit users saying anywhere from a few weeks after the January 8 hearing up to several months or near the end of 2019. One consistent trend we’ve seen on Reddit is that most patients agree we will have full flower sales by the end of the year. Once this happens, we suspect that every MMTC will have to jump on board or risk losing signifiant sales numbers. Flower is still the preferred form of cannabis medication for many newcomers and experienced patients alike, and we expect it will dominate sales once approved by the state.
2.) Extended hours of operation
We’re already seeing the beginnings of this trend; GrowHealthy recently announced its second and third dispensary locations, all with hours of 8am – 9pm. seven days a week. This is significantly more time than most of the current dispensaries are open, as the most common hours of operation are 10am – 7pm: 13 hours a day vs. 9 hours a day. This can and will impact the bottom line of sales, especially as more locations are opened. We expect that as MMTC’s acquire more employees, they will begin to follow suit and have longer hours of operation for patients to pick up their medicine.
3.) Expanded delivery service, less expensive fees
Many MMTCs expanded their delivery area to the entire state of Florida during 2018; several of them also dropped all delivery fees to offer free statewide delivery. We believe this is the beginning of a trend that will soon spread to most of the MMTCs. Expensive delivery fees can be a big turn off for many patients, which can ultimately hurt sales. As more business acquire their licenses to operate as MMTCs this year, expect to see more and more options for cannabis delivery in Florida. we eventually expect that within a few years, all major cannabis companies will offer free statewide delivery.
The Florida Medical Cannabis industry is going to grow rapidly and significantly during 2019, perhaps even more than we are expecting at the moment. A lot of the final outcomes lies with the results of the smoking ban hearing on January 8, and how Ron Desantis *really* acts regarding the previous administration’s battle against Florida medical marijuana patients. Growth is sure to happen; how much growth happens by year-end will depend majorly upon these factors.
We’re getting there!
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