It’s almost hard for me to believe as I type this: the Florida Medical Cannabis Collective has been around for a full year today. Our first post was a review of Sour Diesel TruFlower Cups, but here we are – dozens of reviews and industry updates later.
The industry has changed rapidly, and is completely different and more evolved than it was when this project started. Full flower sales started earlier this year, many Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) have released several new products and forms of cannabis concentrate, and there are thousands upon thousands of new patients.
I’d like to take a moment to thank all of you who regularly read and give feedback to all the content here. Seeing all of your success stories and the ways that the Collective has helped you all as cannabis patients, has been the single most fulfilling aspect of this entire project, and is one of many sources of inspiration that I draw from as I sit down to write each new piece of content.
In celebration of our first full year together, I’ll do a few comparisons of the Florida medical cannabis industry now to what it was 1 year ago today.
|December 2018||December 2019|
|Qualified Patients (Active ID card)||156,408||289,285|
|Total Patients (Including expired ID cards)||198,461||410,344|
|Total Number of Dispensaries in Florida||77||205|
|Milligrams of Medical Marijuana (High-THC) Dispensed |
(During the week prior, per latest OMMU Update)
|Milligrams of Low-THC Marijuana (High-CBD) Dispensed|
(During the week prior, per latest OMMU Update)
These numbers tell a few interesting stories. The most obvious is that the program is growing: particularly the total number of patients in the state registry. What is interesting about this is, however, is that the gap between qualified patients and total patients continues to increase, most likely due to the high costs of maintaining an ID card and the prices of the products themselves. Social media indicates that a lot of patients are heading back to the black market due to not being able to afford all the costs that being a legal cannabis patient in Florida incurs.
The number of qualified physicians has grown at a steady rate, and there is roughly one qualified physician for every 112 patients in the program, which isn’t too much of a stretch.
The number of dispensaries throughout the state has nearly tripled, with most of the growth in coastal areas in the central and southern parts of the state. The panhandle continues to have the least variety in this area, with many MMTCs still not serving that part of the state. Overall, however, access has improved throughout the state this year. If patients were divided evenly amongst the 205 dispensaries in Florida, each dispensary would serve roughly 1,411 patients.
What I found to be perhaps the most surprising from the table above, is that there was less CBD dispensed than this time last year. I attribute part of this to the fact that the Farm Bill passed last year, and hemp-based CBD products are much more readily available to order online, often at a far lower cost than the CBD products offered in Florida dispensaries.
Industry Evolution 2018 -2019
The information we’ve reviewed so far indicates that, as expected, Florida’s medical marijuana industry grew significantly last year. But how did it grow? What changed? What products became available since last year?
Full Flower Legalization
Perhaps the most monumental catalyst for growth of Florida’s medical industry in 2019 was the passage of Senate Bill 182 in the early months of 2019, which allowed MMTCs to sell loose cannabis flower in a form designed for smoking – the way nearly a majority of us medicate. I predicted this change would occur in this article I wrote on January 1 of this year. John Morgan’s lawsuit against the state was in full swing at that time, and Governor DeSantis was just a couple of weeks away from announcing the March deadline he would give the legislature to draft legislation allowing for smokable marijuana – which ultimately led to the existence of SB 182 in the first place.
As of the time of writing this article, every single MMTC in Florida now offers a smokable flower product. One year ago, only Trulieve and Curaleaf offered flower in their vaporizer cups, which were intended to be vaporized in proprietary Volcano-like products (though most of us just found a way to get the flower out of the cups and either vape or smoke it rather than pay $500+ for the intended device.)
Flower prices have also generally come down since last year – most of Trulieve’s flower strains were $55 back then, whereas a majority of them now are in their $43 tier now.
More Variety of Concentrates
One year ago, just about the only concentrate product one could find in Florida was distillate. Trulieve had released shatter a few months back, and MUV had just dropped both shatter and crumble. Other than that, however, choices were limited to distillate or vape carts for many patients.
In the year since then, we now have distillate, shatter, crumble, rosin, RSO, terp sauce, soft wax, and (perhaps arguably) live resin carts. MUV has been the state’s leader in new forms of concentrates, and has most all of the above forms of concentrate available at their dispensaries. Trulieve and Curaleaf also offer most of these forms, and even Surterra (who previously was hesitant to embrace flower and full-spectrum products) has jumped into the concentrate market with a recent release of shatter and soft wax products. Almost every MMTC offers distillate, and more say they plan to have shatter, crumble, and wax products by the beginning of 2020.
From December 2, 2018 to December 2, 2019 – Florida’s medical cannabis industry has evolved to more resemble the well-developed markets in other legal states. Though the way our laws are written have provided many challenges: product availability and high prices to name a couple – conditions continue to steadily improve with respect to access and affordability.
One year ago, I never imagined that every single MMTC would offer a flower product; a few MMTCs had gained a little notoriety last year for taking stances in opposition to allowing full flower sales. One year later, all of them have embraced what patients ultimately wanted from the start – a variety of products, and the ability to purchase cannabis in its most natural full-flower form.
It is my belief that the industry will continue with this steady growth throughout 2020. Though House Representative Ray Rodrigues plans to fight against our medicine again during the 2020 legislative session – namely by his attempts to impose a 10% THC limit on all cannabis flower in product as he did at the beginning of this year – I have a feeling that the MMTCs and the will of our hundreds of thousands of patients will not allow that to happen; what is truly righteous and just will prevail, just as it did this year when we were finally granted the ability to purchase whole flower. The Florida Medical Cannabis Collective will surely be using this site and our social media reach to help fight against the misinformation campaigns that Ray and his allies are sure to use against us – and we will absolutely win.
2019 has been a great year for all of us, and 2020 stands to be even better. Whatever happens, be assured that we at the Collective will be here for you through it all. We look forward to another great year together, and again, we thank you all for your continued love and support.
May you all be blessed with peace, love, wealth, health, wisdom, prosperity, and happiness.
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