Florida Cannabis Business Licenses
WHAT IS FLORIDA'S CURRENT CANNABIS MARKET STATUS?
Florida joined numerous states with the legalization of medical cannabis in 2016 when voters passed Amendment 2. Under this amendment, only vertically integrated operations are allowed, which has sparked frustration for potential cannabis entrepreneurs. In 2019, SB 182 was passed repealing the Amendment 2 ban on smoking medical cannabis, creating a boom in the market. As of January 2020, there are 218 dispensaries licensed and 304,500 medical patients who are purchasing an estimated 5.452 pounds of smokable cannabis per month. Retail sales on smokable products alone reached $100-150 million from July 2019 to December 2019.
WHAT ARE FLORIDA'S CANNABIS LAWS?
In November 2016 with a 71% majority, voters approved the Florida Medical Legalization Initiative known as Amendment 2. The Amendment to Florida's constitution allows doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana for patients to alleviate symptoms for specific qualifying conditions. Florida currently operates under Florida Administrative Code Chapter 64-4.
Despite being a medical cannabis state, Florida still abides by strict cannabis laws. With the possession of small amounts still illegal, a person with the possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana can still receive up to one year imprisonment and a fine of up to $1,000 with a misdemeanor charge placed on his/her record. Possession of more than 20 grams is considered a felony, and is punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $5,000. In 2015, in an effort to focus criminal resources on violent crimes, local governments began to pass ordinances to allow officers the discretion to cite rather than arrest adults found with under 20 grams of cannabis in their possession.
WHAT IS FLORIDA'S CANNABIS LICENSING TIMELINE & CANNABIS APPLICATION PROCESS?
The application process for a Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Center is currently closed. You may purchase an existing license from the current operator although prices are high. Two licenses went on sale towards the end of 2019 with one listed for $40 million and allows the owner to operate up to 30 dispensaries. A second license listed for $55 million and allows the owner to operate 35 dispensaries.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY OF CANNABIS IN FLORIDA?
In June 2014, Governor Scott signed into law SB 1030 otherwise known as the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act legalizing CBD oil. This bill allows cannabis oil consisting of low THC/ high CBD contents produced from the cannabis strain known as Charlotte’s Web to be legally available to patients with qualifying conditions such as epilepsy, cancer and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 in Florida when Amendment 2 was approved with a 71% vote. The passing of Amendment 2 gave access to medical marijuana for patients who received recommendations from a physician stating that the potential benefits of medical marijuana outweigh the risk. Most recently, in 2019 the availability of medical cannabis expanded from allowable products only being in the forms of edibles, vaping, oils, sprays, or pills to also include smokable medical cannabis.
DOES FLORIDA HAVE A HEMP PROGRAM?
Florida hemp cultivation is legal and aspiring hemp entrepreneurs can now apply for a hemp cultivation license in Florida here.
ARE YOU PREPARING FOR THE FLORIDA CANNABIS MARKET?
On May 6th, 2020 the Florida Supreme Court heard arguments to open Florida’s medical marijuana licensing opportunities to include stand alone licensing for each of the phases of the supply chain. If the Supreme Court agrees, Florida will have an entirely new competitive licensing policy.
Adult-use efforts remain underway in Florida with the possibility of a bill being placed on the 2022 ballot for voters to decide. Although there was a strong push for an adult-use bill to be on the 2020 ballot, the organization, Make It Legal Florida, only had 294,448 of the 700,000+ signatures verified by the Florida Division of Elections, and decided to abandon its 2020 ballot effort. With adult use, recreational cannabis legislation likely on the horizon, now is time to develop the business plan that best suits your vision. Point7 has the products and programs to assist in pre-licensure planning, operational procedures and building selection, design layouts and renderings.