Hello there, everyone! As always, I hope this update finds you well, happy, and prosperous. It’s hard to believe that we are closing out another year, and another full year of the Florida medical cannabis industry. In just over a month, FLMCC will be 2 years old; I started this website on December 2, 2018 – and so much has changed since then. In fact, the last time I wrote an article like this was in late 2018, and it was called “5 ways Florida Dispensaries Can Improve in 2019.” By and large, all the improvements mentioned in that article were made. But the industry has evolved to a new level, and instead of generalized improvements like “employees should be more knowledgeable”, we can focus on more specific items that need to be addressed.
I know that a lot of executive management for various Florida MMTCs read these posts, so I hope that each one of you reading this will truly take these improvements to heart, and implement them. They are a combination of repeated questions/requests/complaints I’ve heard from the community, and some of my own personal thoughts.
Furthermore, the power lies within the community. To all the patients reading this, if you agree with something you see here, make sure you tag your favorite MMTC on social media, and let them know! We have the ability to make changes when we unify – it’s happened many times since I started this site, and I know we’re going to manifest it and make it happen again for 2021. Of course, if there’s something you don’t see mentioned in this article, feel free to comment and let everyone know what needs to be changed/improved!
1.) We like eighths, but we’d love grams and ounces.
This is perhaps one of the biggest changes that needs to be made to Florida’s medical cannabis industry. Every single MMTC sells flower by the eighth, almost exclusively. Curaleaf and MUV have offered ounces and grams respectively, at different times. One Plant has offered grams, eighths, and ounces at various times. But as far as this being a consistent industry practice, it hasn’t happened after nearly 2 years of adding flower to the program. It’s long overdue.
Patients need to be able to sample different strains for treating their conditions without having to drop an average of $40-50 for one strain. I know that this has greatly limited the amount of strains I am able to review here, and I know many patients depend on variety to keep their medicinal cannabis routines in top efficiency and effectiveness. Of course, the MMTC makes extra profit by a small up-charge on the gram vs. the eighth or the ounce, as is an industry standard in other developed legal states.
Ounces may not be totally feasible at this point due to supply and demand issues and the limits of Florida’s vertically integrated cannabis industry, but I know grams could happen by the end of Q1 2021, and desperately need to. Once facilities are able to supply the demand, ounces should follow before the end of 2021.
2.) Let the plants grow and cure a little longer.
While this has improved in 2020 vs. 2019, I still see lots of reports of flower that has been rushed to meet production, and not allowed to fully mature and/or cure – which results in less desirable and less effective medicinal qualities.
Each MMTC should work to transition to a grow schedule that allows the plants to mature to where trichomes turn amber/gold in color, and there should be uniform standards given to the grow teams to ensure that this happens. I know it can be done, and has been done, as batches from various MMTCs have been hit or miss with how long they’ve been allowed to mature.
To all MMTCs: Let the flower mature and cure a little longer. I promise the rave reviews (and returning customers) will be worth the investment.
3.) Make all lab reports easily available via public domain.
I’d like to commend both Trulieve and GrowHealthy for adopting this practice. I know several MMTCs also make lab reports available by request (often by email), but this is not optimal for either the MMTC or the patient.
I really like Trulieve’s system of having a central publicized database online, in which every lab report is available via a search function where the user inputs the batch number on the product. (Link to Trulieve’s lab report website here.)
This should be an industry standard, an act of good faith and transparency by the MMTCs. There’s really no reason that this shouldn’t happen by the end of 2021, and I hope to see it implemented soon.
4.) Develop more edible cannabis products.
Many patients rely on forms of cannabis consumption other than smoking, and edible products are one of the most popular alternatives. Furthermore, cannabinoids and terpenes can have unique interactions with compounds in various foods, providing a unique medicinal benefit spectrum for patients.
Edible cannabis products were only legalized in Florida a couple of months ago, and Trulieve is currently the only MMTC that offers true edible products. I expect to see all the other MMTCs offering at least one or two edible products by the end of next year, and think this has a high likelihood of happening within the next 4-6 months, with some MMTCs potentially aiming for a Holiday 2020 release. We’ll see!
5.) Offer an affordable tier of every product.
Most MMTCs transitioned to a tiered system of flower quality this year, and the average price for an eighth of flower dropped because of it. Lately, however, many MMTCs have began adding a “top shelf” variety of flower, and prices for those product average at $60 an eighth or higher. In fact, one new MMTC (The Flowery) has come onto the market exclusively offering $60 eighths. Personally, I predict this won’t last long without a viable more cost-effective alternative being simultaneously available.
In short, this is my “golden rule” for prices: If you’re going to charge a premium price for a product, you have a moral obligation to offer a cost-effective tier as well. This is medicine. While greater trends across the country continue to gravitate towards an adult-use market, we aren’t there yet in Florida, and many Floridians who depend on cannabis for medicine are being excluded by prohibitively high prices – like $60 eighths.
$30 (and below) eighths should be a standard tier option as well. At this point, I know every single Florida MMTC has the capacity to make it happen. The question is if they are willing to choose patients over profits, at least in the sense of offering multiple tiers, and not just the premium-priced options.
The rapidly-evolving Florida medical cannabis market will continue on pace in 2021, with further expansion of products and storefront locations. One of my main objectives with the voice that FLMCC provides, is to ensure that we all win together. Patients don’t deserve to be left behind as the industry progresses, and I trust that every MMTC representative who might be reading this article will act in good faith to implement at least some of these changes as we head into the end of the year. We all win bigger and better when we win together – don’t ever forget that.
To all my fellow patients reading this article, use your voice. We can move mountains when we work together. I’ve seen it done many times in the past 2 years, and I know we will see it happen many more times together as we move forward.
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