Florida Medical Marijuana Market
Early Advocates and Industry Leaders for Medical Marijuana in Florida
Florida released rules for Pigford/Black Farmers license applications in mid-October 2021. Once the state awards this license, they are expeted to open applications for up to 19 new medical marijuana licenses in the state.
The Canna Advisors team has been active in Florida since the early days of the cannabis industry development. We have been writing business plans for clients in Florida even before the ballot initiative in 2016.
And, as industry advocates and leaders, Canna Advisors Founding Partners Diane and Jay Czarkowski were key fundraisers in the medical marijuana ballot initiative and have been recognized for their contribution to the successful initiative.
Florida’s new Republican governor, Ron DeSantis, has been lukewarm in his statements about marijuana, but he is likely to shift course from former governor Rick Scott’s obstructionist policies and may direct the Department of Health (DOH) to begin accepting licenses for more medical marijuana businesses soon. The current rules governing the medical marijuana program are the subject of numerous lawsuits, and will almost certainly change prior to the DOH beginning acceptance of new applications.
Savvy and well-capitalized entrepreneurs interested in pursuing a medical marijuana license in Florida should already be securing property, developing their facility design, raising capital, winning local approval, and recruiting key team members.
Cannabis Business Guidance in Florida
As a medical-use state, the enormous opportunity in Florida is driven by its large scale and tempered by a complex and challenging environment for business operators. The market is highly-competitive and comes with high barriers to entry. In addition to being merit-based, the restrictive licensing requirements include posting a $5 million bond and regulations require vertical integration. New businesses will need significant investment capital to develop and implement a vertically-integrated operation.
Market Conditions in Florida
The medical marijuana ballot initiative was highly successful, with a record-setting 71% approval. While rules and licensing structures are still being refined, the current view is that access will be strictly limited by low qualifying conditions. With no standard or statewide regulations, each licensee operates under a different set of rules, which increases the risk and complexity of compliance. A business can lose its license if found to be conducting business outside the rules laid out in their individual application.
With a high percentage of residents that are aged 65+ and affluent, the untapped market is expected to show high demand and drive growth.
One market dynamic of note is the increasing demand and decreasing stigma of cannabis as this demographic’s experience with cannabis grows, either directly or through friends. With all factors considered, Florida is likely to become the largest medical-only market in the country.
Investors and business owners will need expert guidance and detailed attention to navigate the barriers to entry and merit-based qualifications. Equally important in the vertical integration model is developing the right spend on facility design, developing all parts of the supply chain, and connecting to capital and investors. Important across the board is navigating the risks of non-standard and application-specific regulations. Canna Advisors is equipped to handle all of these factors and guide you through each step of planning and mitigating risks.
Florida Cannabis Industry Projections
Registered medical marijuana patients (2019)
Compounded annual growth rate
Source: "The State of Legal Marijuana Markets" by Arcview Market Research/ BDS Analytics, 7th Edition.
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