By Dalton Rosario
As it stands Florida’s medical cannabis program provides little to no room for emerging businesses to gain a foothold in the Sunshine State’s $250M - $300M market valuation in 2018. This is due to 2017 legislation granting 10 initial medicinal cannabis licenses to lay the statewide infrastructure, from which four new licenses would be distributed for every additional 100,000 patients registered to the program. This has capped the Sunshine State to 14 medical licenses, creating a market demand of over $50M for prospective businesses to acquire an operating license from another organization.
This has raised questions concerning state lawmakers unconstitutionally barring the natural free market forces of supply and demand. Since 2017, Florida’s medical cannabis program has increased from 56,537 registered patients to 159,107; and retail dispensaries have tripled from 24 locations to 78 statewide. Jeffrey Sharkey, Executive Director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, speculates Florida will soon foster 800,000 to 1 million registered patients. Far from unreasonable given that by this time last year, Florida’s medicinal cannabis market had earned $40M compared to its projected peak of $300M by this year’s end.
There is still much to be determined in the new year and Florida’s Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services-elect, Nikki Fried who is an outspoken proponent for cannabis rights, will be playing an active role in endorsing the removal of legislative barriers to entry.
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