It’s been quite a while since I wrote an industry update. This has mainly been due to the COVID-19 pandemic: ever since we all began focusing much of our energy on dealing with this crisis, I’ve focused most of my content on writing reviews and building our new T7 Series.
However, the Florida medical cannabis industry has still thrived while most all other businesses have suffered major losses during the pandemic. Cannabis is as much in demand now as it ever was – maybe more (and my medicine cabinet right now is a testament to that.)
For most of the more recent updates, I’ve given an overview of every MMTC and the current overall quality of their flower, as well as anything noteworthy that may involve those particular MMTCs.
This time, however, I’m going to change the pace a little bit. For this update, I’m going to highlight some of the things I see various dispensaries doing, that I think should be industry standards across the board.
Requiring Employees to Wear Masks; Curbside Pickup, Social Distancing
The pandemic is obviously still a large part of many of our lives (unless you’re one of the ones who chooses to pretend like it isn’t happening), so this first cluster of positive practices will focus on mitigating the pandemic and slowing the spread of COVID-19.
With the masks, it has been hit or miss in my experience. I have tried to only use curbside pickup. I commend GrowHealthy and VidaCann, as it seems every employee I’ve interacted with has had a mask on.
Face coverings are crucial to stopping the spread of respiratory viruses. If we’re going to open our stores to the public, at least the employees should be wearing masks. There’s really no good reason not to.
I understand that some stores’ volumes and/or parking situations may not make curbside pickup feasible, but this is an excellent way to get medicine during these times. I love it, and wish everyone had it. I’m much more likely to shop at a store if it has curbside pickup. Some of my local dispensaries that offer it include GrowHealthy, VidaCann, and Fluent.
Finally, if not able to offer curbside pickup, social distancing needs to be in place and truly enforced. There should not be crowds; unfortunately, I’ve seen posts on social media that indicate some dispensaries are not following with this. This, if true, is irresponsible and unacceptable.
I commend all the MMTCs and individual dispensary locations that are doing their part to protect themselves, and all of us.
Offering Lower Price Tier Options
Getting off the subject of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is something I’ve seen MMTCs start doing within the past year: offering lower tier price options.
Examples of this include the various forms of small buds: Minis, Littles, Breakaways, Smalls, Popcorn – whatever you want to call it. Another one is the shake/trim/”ground flower”. I commend (mostly) all of the MMTCs for offering some of these options, as it helps make the cannabis medicine more accessible for all – something that has always been of major importance to me.
I think we need to continue to see a trend in this direction, especially if the MMTC in question is going to offer “premium” options that cost more than $50/eighth – which is what I think should be the maximum cost for flower, personally.
Free or Low-Cost Delivery
Expanding on accessibility, this is another important service that I feel MMTCs need to focus on expanding and making less cost-prohibitive over the next year. Even without a pandemic, there are patients who are not able to get to the stores. They matter too, and shouldn’t have to pay high premiums (delivery fees) just to be able to get their medicine.
Offering More Forms of Medication, Making Flower Widely Available
I’ve seen much improvement in these areas since I became a patient in August 2018, and since smokable flower was legalized in March 2019. When I joined the registry, there were distillate syringes, vape carts, tinctures, capsules, and flower cups – and that was pretty much it.
Now there seems to be a plethora of options, including shatter, crumble, rosin, terp sauce, THCa “snow”, wax, and even “edibles” in the form of mints from Curaleaf. I have to recognize Trulieve and MUV for leading the way in this area; these two MMTCs currently have the widest variety of product options in Florida.
The second aspect of this is flower availability. This has massively improved from this time last year. I remember what seemed like weeks on end in Summer 2019, where seemingly nobody had any flower in stock. Whenever small shipments did come through (often only once a week), they were gone in hours.
Now, I can find flower at any of the several MMTCs in my area, and most of them have multiple strains in stock. Conditions are so much better than they used to be, but we still have a long way to go. We need to get to a point where every MMTC offers common medicinal strains like Sour Diesel or GDP, and has them all in stock at any given time. I believe we will see that become a reality within a couple of years.
Allowing All Discounts to Apply to Flower
Finally, some of the MMTCs are allowing their periodic discounts to apply to flower.
I’ll keep this short: I understand the need for these MMTCs (which are businesses at the end of the day) to profit, but can we please stop treating flower like it’s gold, or “ooooo, can’t have this!“
The MMTCs know a lot of us prefer flower, and so I see the need to encourage sales of other product modalities. But at least offer us something on flower – you’ll still see a profit.
Display Jars for Flower – Letting Patients See Flower Before Purchase
I think this is a hugely important one. I’ve seen MUV and Medmen doing this in my local area: putting the available strains inside the budtender display jars, which also have a port where patients can smell the flower as well (though I don’t know how risky that aspect is during the pandemic.)
This should be an industry standard, especially since no MMTCs offer one gram or other small quantities of flower. If we’re dropping $30-60 for an eighth, we should be able to see it and smell it before we buy it. I know that my favorite strains are almost always determined by the terpenes – the way they smell. I’d have a lot better experiences (and be more likely to come back and shop more) if I was always able to inspect a strain before buying it.
On that note, I think every MMTC needs to move to offering a one gram quantity of their flower strains. We all want to sample as many strains as possible, and there’s more profit in selling it by the gram for the MMTC. To be clear: both eighths and grams should be offered as a standard. Ounces should be offered in bulk pricing as well, but I know we must take baby steps. I’d prefer to see grams offered first, personally.
I’ve seen a lot of progress in Florida’s cannabis industry in the past 2 years, and amazingly, it continues to gain momentum with a global pandemic raging on around it. I have full confidence that the industry will continue to grow and become better and better for all involved – especially when edibles are able to be offered (whenever that happens; I’m not holding my breath anymore.)
The practices listed above are good for the patient and the business alike, and should be adopted by all MMTCs as a uniform industry standard, especially those regarding to safety during COVID-19.
What things do you see that you think should become standard practice for all MMTCs? Drop a comment below and let us know!
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