Good evening (or morning, afternoon, night) to all of you! Today, March 13 2019, has been another monumental day in the history of the Florida cannabis industry. This afternoon, the Florida House of Representatives voted 101-11 in favor of passing Senate Bill 182 (SB 182), a measure to legalize smokable cannabis and raw cannabis flower sales for medical cannabis patients in Florida. This means that both the Senate and House passed SB 182 – the Senate did so last Thursday as the bill passed 34-4.
The next (and final) step is for Governor Ron Desantis to sign SB182 into law, and the current speculation is that he will do so rather quickly. We may see the bill signed as early as tomorrow, or on Friday, March 15 – the original deadline that the Governor set for the Florida Legislature to pass a bill such as SB 182.
SB 182 Recap
- Smoking route can be ordered up to six 35-day supplies (equivalent to the current standard of three 70-day supplies for every other route of administration)
- Each 35-day supply allows up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis flower for each patient, or a half ounce of flower per week. There can be special exceptions made through the Department of Health, as there are already exceptions for the other routes.
- Patients can carry up to four ounces of marijuana flower on their person
- Marijuana flower can be sold in many forms – not restricted to prerolled joints
- Medical marijuana delivery devices intended for smoking need not be purchased from a dispensary. Unfortunately, this does not apply for vaporization devices; apparently this was a compromise that the House demanded. I personally expect this to be disputed in some way through time. It makes absolutely zero sense, given that the same legislature fought against smoking for so long. Why “open the floodgates” for smoking paraphernalia, but not allow it for vaporization devices? What is the “boogeyman” here?
- Patients under 18 may not smoke cannabis, unless they have a terminal illness and are signed off by a second doctor under similar conditions to the current “Right to Try” act.
Significant changes on the horizon for Florida cannabis patients
This is great news for us, the patients. Say goodbye to the tedious ceramic pods, and the days of only select MMTCs offering flower. We will soon be able to buy cannabis flower that we can actually see in the dispensary, just like almost every other state that has legalized cannabis for medicinal and/or recreational purposes. Forget the days of feeling like a criminal because you chose to take your medication via the route that works the best for you, if smoking is your choice route of administration. And eventually, as more competition will inevitably enter the flower market – say goodbye to $55 being the standard price for an eighth of medicinal cannabis in Florida.
The biggest question for most of us is when we will be able to walk into our dispensary of choice and purchase raw flower. This is purely speculation now as many of us are unsure how far the dispensaries have gotten with any prior approval for containers to house smokable cannabis, how long it will take for industry standards and regulations to be set, how long it takes the various Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers to roll out products that comply with those standards, and a host of other variables. Various social media shows patients speculating anywhere from next week to the end of 2019 before we are able to purchase raw flower. My personal estimate would place this time somewhere between mid July and mid August, but only time and developments to this story will truly reveal the answer. One thing is for certain: things are about to get much better for us.
At the Collective, we believe in the power of the people through knowledge and education, so we’re sharing the 15 individuals we’ve chosen to label as Florida’s Faulted 15. We chose this title because their votes against SB182 alone do not determine that they are unethical, immoral, or “evil” people, but they are surely faulted for their actions of ignorance and/or intolerance.
Keith Perry, R – Gainesville
Doug Broxson, R – Gulf Breeze
George Gainer, R – Panama City
Ed Hooper, R – Clearwater
Thad Altman, R – Rockledge
Mike Belran, R – Lithia
Chuck Clemons, R – Newberry
Jason Fischer, R – Jacksonville
Clay Yarborough, R – Jacksonville
Erin Grall, R – Vero Beach
Mike Hill, R – Pensacola
Mel Ponder, R – Destin
Ardian Zika, R – Land o’ Lakes
Jackie Toledo, R – Tampa
James Bush III, D – Miami
If these politicians voted against your interests, be sure you help spread awareness with those who share your beliefs, and ensure that these officials don’t get re-elected in 2020. They have no right to dictate what is or isn’t our medicine – that’s up to us and our doctors.
As we’ve been saying since the first weekly update on January 1 of this year, 2019 is a significant year for the history and development of Florida’s cannabis industry. We are experiencing the last days of the industry as it has been since 2017. Here at the Collective, we eagerly anticipate the next phase of evolution for our industry, and today was a major catalyst in setting off that evolution. As soon as Governor Desantis signs SB182, it effectively becomes law; after that, this cannabis journey in Florida is about to pick up a lot of speed. We hope you’re as ready as we are for this very positive step forward!
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