Hello there to all of you! I hope you all had a great wrap-up of Q1 2019, and are having a great beginning to Q2!
The Florida Medical Cannabis industry continues to grow at a rapid rate. We recently just hit over 200,000 patients with ID cards, and many Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) have rolled out or are planning to roll out their smokable flower product.
Unfortunately, every great advancement will surely be met with its antagonists. The frustrating part is that we medical patients have already dealt with many antagonists already: former Governor Rick Scott and the Florida Legislature, who fought tirelessly to ruin every positive development for our medical cannabis industry. Just when newly elected Governor Ron Desantis stepped in and forced the legislature to essentially do its job and give the people of Florida what they voted for, another group of lawmakers is aiming to destroy that progress yet again.
Ray Rodrigues’ new attack on Florida cannabis patients
The Florida Legislature’s newest attack on medical marijuana comes in the form of Ray Rodrigues and his House Health and Human Services Committee now attempting to write a bill that would limit THC levels in medical marijuana flower to 10% and below.
The move has sparked outrage in the industry, and comes as a slap in the face to Governor Desantis, who already told the legislature that it was time to “quit playing games” and give the people what they voted for. Apparently, Ray Rodrigues isn’t ready to hear the final whistle just yet.
Perhaps the most troubling piece of information was Senator Jeff Brandes’ thoughts that the House would try to lump in the new THC restrictions into an already-existing Senate bill that would raise the legal age for tobacco products from 18 to 21. If the House pulls this old trick, the THC cap may pass through largely undetected unless careful attention is paid to the language in the bill.
The new bill would take effect on 1/1/2020, giving our allies (looking at you, John Morgan) plenty of time to take legal action to fight this ridiculous attempt from the Legislature to destroy the current medical cannabis industry in Florida.
The bill still has to gain the majority support of both the House and Senate before it even makes it to the Governor’s desk, so there’s still hope that enough sensible lawmakers will destroy this sickening bill before it ever has a chance to see the light of day.
We anxiously await any new developments on this story, and will be sure to keep you all informed of the latest. Until then, contact your representatives (call them, tweet them, etc.) and let them know that you do not support a 10% (or any) THC limit for any cannabis products in Florida. Let them know how much THC and cannabis have improved your life, and how badly it would affect you should your medicine suddenly be limited to an extremely low strength. Be polite, but firm – this usually yields the best chance of your message being truly heard.
Smokable Flower Update – RISE becomes 3rd Florida MMTC to offer smokable flower
Now that we have the bad news out of the way, let’s focus on some good things!
There are three MMTCs that currently have flower available: Trulieve, Curaleaf, and now RISE.
RISE currently only has one Florida dispensary open in Deerfield Beach, but they are a well-established cannabis company in several other states, and look to bring a new variety of high-quality cannabis products to Florida cannabis patients.
Some patients have already been lucky enough to get some of RISE’s flower, and I have to say it looks really good from the pictures. Take a look at some below:
According to their website, RISE has plans to open up 29 locations throughout the state, so be looking for them to open a location near you soon! I know I’ll be watching for them to bring some more variety to the Panhandle.
Another exciting bit of news came today when Trulieve announced yet another partnership; this time with Blue River Extracts and Terpenes™. Many patients have criticized some of Trulieve’s current concentrate products for not being extracted from the strain they are labeled, and for using plant terpenes instead of cannabis terpenes in their distillate. This news should be a welcome changes for patients who have these frustrations, and good news for anyone in the program who is looking for new and innovative ways to treat their ailments.
“Blue River™ is an industry-leading cannabis company that has focused on the development of full spectrum solvent-less cannabis derived terpenes and began utilizing terpenes with advanced mechanical extraction techniques to create an array of award winning branded products including, Rosin, Dry Sift Sap, Vape Cartridges, CBD Crystalline, Rosin Sauce, THCa, Flan™, and Jelly™, which earned them over 50 cannabis awards to date. “
No timeframe for the release of any new products has been go even, as all new products must be approved by the Department of Health. We will continue to watch for new products, and be sure to let you know about them – and provide reviews for them as we are able.
VidaCann now offering delivery to the entire Panhandle
Patients in the Panhandle (myself included) who have been looking for more variety in their medical marijuana should welcome the following news from VidaCann’s verified Industry Rep on the Florida Medical Trees subreddit:
“North Florida paitents that are looking for delivery, reach out to VidaCann Tallahassee. Any order $100 or over has no delivery charge 😯 The whole panhandle now can get the premium cannabis products that we need!“
Before VidaCann, the only dispensaries in the Panhandle were Trulieve, Surterra, Curaleaf, and Knox. VidaCann now becomes the 5th MMTC to offer cannabis products to patients in the Panhandle, bringing more much-needed variety to the area. Judging from the image below, it looks like their flower is a force to be reckoned with, too!
Though the future may seem uncertain with Ray Rodrigues’ latest stunt, I choose to believe that we – the patients, and all who support us – will pull through this and get to keep the high quality flower that is available to us now. It simply makes no sense to pull a move that would completely dismantle the currently successful industry, based on an inconclusive study with limited data. There are over 200,000 patients who have been able to reduce or completely quit taking dangerous pharmaceuticals; so many people have found a better quality of life through this natural and safe medicine. It’s obvious that people like Rodrigues are the clear minority; most all sensible adults know the truth about cannabis and know that it has the potential to truly save lives and bring a load of new revenue and job growth to the State of Florida, as it has already started to do. If Rodrigues values the longevity of his career over the short sight of a political move that is obvious catered to his political contributors (special interest groups, corporations, etc.), he will drop this nonsense 10% THC limit at once and focus his energy on other, far more important issues facing the State of Florida.
In the mean time, we have so many positive things to look toward: new smokable flower strains and products from a growing number of MMTCs, new concentrates and cannabis terpene products, and expanded access and increasingly affordable medicine. Though people like Rodrigues look to destroy our quality of life for their own selfish reasons, we will not let them. We will stand together, and we will win.
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