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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER:  CANNABIS LAW REPORT

 

All of our state MMTC FL licensed clinics and dispensaries incorporate the lofty goals of both patient and product availability (access) and affordability (cost).

 

On April 15, 2019, Florida released updated Information on How to Get Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License, or MMTC license, in the state to open a clinic or dispensary.

 

In addition, ModernCanna Labs MMTC Application Process offers step-by-step one pagers, along with several vital guides for use in Florida:

  1. Official Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida, or MMTC
  1. How To Prepare for the Process of Obtaining a Florida MMTC License
  1. Know the Current Laws and Regulations in Florida courtesy of the Marijuana Policy Project
  1. Dispensary Permiits: Open a Dispensary in Florida
  1. Dispensary Permits – Florida Medical Marijuana Licenses
  1. Foley LLP – Medical Marijuana Licensure, June 22, 2017 Update

 

Whether or not these common goals of access and affordability are always achievable for MMTC physician clinics and their dispensary counterparts remains undecided.

 Yet Florida’s unique, core value-driven business directive equals growth in many forms:

  • more local physical stores
  • quality state-grown product
  • trained employees, from growers to technicians to specialists in the science, medicine, and health fields
  • community involvement
  • higher physician education
  • job creation
  • boosted local and state economy
  • business development

 

Cannabis is quite the budding industry here in Florida.

Even with the recent push for adult recreational use, Medical Marijuana remains in the foreground and legal users now have representation infiltrated throughout local, state and national government.

VIDEO: Want a recap on Medical Cannabis? Watch Civilized.life – Cannabis for Beginners

 

On July 9, 2019, Eric Giandelone’s astute viewpoint “Building With, Not From, Medical Markets” pointedly (1) highlights the importance of the medical marijuana aspect to future legalization efforts; (2) illuminates the direct correlation between medical and adult recreational marijuana users; and (3) explains how these two distinct markets must inform each other if federal legalization is to succeed:

“Medical Users Should Not Be Left Behind: So why the call to remember these users? It seems as though cannabis producers are giving these consumers short shrift as all eyes turn toward the dollar signs of a larger adult-use market. Product shortages have been reported in medical markets before adult-use ‘go live’ dates and consumers and dispensaries have been faced with a more limited selection as producers stockpile inventory: Canada, Illinois.

In an odd twist, this dynamic often drives the medical users to the black market to get the product they want, which seems like a perverse way for an industry to treat its best customers.

For dispensaries and cannabis product producers, the growth from new consumers is very exciting, but the medical user community is the built-in cannabis customer base. The opening of new adult-use markets represents enormous opportunity for cannabis, but the enthusiasm that comes from these markets’ potential must be matched with a recognition of how that market was built, by whom, and why.”

 

Most locations throughout Florida have embraced this full-spectrum cannabis economy, along with the accompanying exceptional physician minds introduced to each state region with marijuana expansion.

 According to the “Employment” facts at WeedMaps and BDS Analytics Report on 2019 Legal U.S. Marijuana Markets:

“The passage of medical and adult-use cannabis laws gives rise to an entirely new industry that creates tens of thousands of jobs in occupations as varied as management, cultivation, manufacturing, and retail. According to Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, the U.S. cannabis industry directly employed 120,000 workers in 2017 — more than double the 52,300 workers employed by the coal mining industry that same year.

As legalization expands, the U.S. cannabis industry is projected to directly employ 330,000 workers by 2022. That’s more than the 268,000 iron and steel mill workers employed in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

For example, after Amendment 2 passed in 2016, cities across Florida quickly set in motion laws to accommodate this market, my home City of Pensacola being no exception.

 Northwest Florida’s Pensacola immediately went to work as early as September 2016 passing new code laws to allow for medical marijuana doctors, patients, and business dispensaries within the city limits.

Although happening statewide, the City of Pensacola Agenda Center recorded the monumental Northwest Florida decision in its public September 15, 2016 City Council minutes.

Trulieve was the first licensed dispensary to set up shop in the city limits of Pensacola and immediately recognized the need for more certified cannabis physicians.

Surterra Wellness followed closely on its heels opening December 2017 in a ceremony that included U.S. Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Championing medical marijuana legal rights throughout the state and the Capitol, Gaetz is widely regarded in Florida as a “Wellness Warrior”

Representative Gaetz (R-FL) supports rescheduling cannabis from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule III drug, enabling further research and expanded use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. In 2015 he sponsored a House bill to expand Florida’s Right to Try Act to include medical marijuana.

In September 2017, Wilson Kirby of The Tampa Bay Times reported that Gaetz would keynote the American Medical Marijuana Physicians Association’s annual conference.

 

FLORIDA’S HAD A LONG, STRANGE TRIP INDEED:

On June 14, 2019, the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida announced that the Board of Governors selects UF to lead medical marijuana research consortium to:

 “evaluate the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana, consider dosing and routes of administration, including study of the effects of smoking medical marijuana versus other methods of consumption.”

Almut Winterstein, Ph.D., a professor and chair of pharmaceutical outcomes and policy in the UF College of Pharmacy and director of the UF Center for Drug Evaluation and Safety continues:

There is an urgent need to enhance the evidence base related to the emerging marijuana and cannabis market in Florida,” said. “UF has been involved with the Florida Medical Marijuana Program since 2014 and is well-prepared to leverage its extensive research infrastructure and broad faculty expertise to investigate the safe and effective use of medical marijuana in the state of Florida. As with any other medical treatment, providers, patients and regulators need the necessary information to evaluate its benefits and risks.”

 Speaking of “methods of consumption” for cannabis products, otherwise known as cannabis delivery routes, a majority of the state’s 12 licensed MMTC dispensaries, namely Surterra Wellness and Trulieve, have expanded to offer smokable cannabis flower in whole or “pre-roll” products as of July 8, 2019.

 

INSIGHT: Visit WeedMaps Learn- Cannabis Education for all the pertinent facts surrounding medical cannabis

Surterra announced their unexpected addition of smokable products to subscribed qualified patients via direct email:

Introducing Pre-Rolls

Florida’s Finest pre-rolls are now available! Get the benefits from smokable cannabis without the hassle of grinding flower, rolling paper or packing pipes. Florida’s Finest now offers smokable flower in 0.5 gram pre-rolls.

Strains now available: Original Glue, Chemdog, Stardawg

*Limit 3 per person per day due to limited inventory. Pre-rolls are not available for pick-up or delivery. They can only be purchased in select Wellness Centers. Strain availability may vary between harvests.”

Firstly, if patients don’t want to miss out on smokable pre-rolls or whole flower, an initial double check with the medical marijuana physician providing recommendation or “order” should be performed by the patient.

On June 28, 2019, an OMMU Registry system update was initiated specifically to include smokable flower as a delivery route. To purchase smokable cannabis products, however, requires a CME physician to designate smokable flower in the OMMU Registry’s patient recommendation.

Secondly, a qualified patient must have this approved route of administration in order to buy smokable flower after July 12 of this year. Active OMMU patients can check their existing registry certification and current order recommendation here.

This additional precautionary accuracy check in the state Registry will ensure the necessary changes to individual patient certifications have been made to now include the smokable delivery route option for a patient, per the mandatory July 12, 2019 physician updates across the state.

 The state continues to grow daily, as highlighted in Dara Kam’s April news report in The South Florida Sun Sentinel: Medical marijuana licenses granted for eight more Florida operators.

 

BUT FLORIDA MISSED A SIGNIFICANTLY BIG HIT:

While 2016 saw the overwhelming passage of Amendment 2, the new Medical Marijuana law left in detrimental language and regulations requiring a 90-day waiting period and a 45-day cannabis order limit.

Patients did not go away quietly appeased, as the state had anticipated.

Like many other Florida patients, I became personally invested in Florida’s medical marijuana future –and its ultimate success! I started my advocacy journey through direct civic engagement that has allowed me to help others learn about medical cannabis and how it can serve as an integral part of your medicinal regimen.

Patients, physicians, and the public all want to learn more about medical marijuana, and confusion abounds!

 Knowledge compels most people, organizations, companies and even communities to more actively participate in all levels of government medical marijuana rule-making: local, state, and federal. These laws affect all of us.

 

LEGAL: LeafWell- Important National Legal Issues Pertaining to Medical Marijuana: Five Cannabis Laws That Apply to Most US States

 

Contact Heather

Heather Allman
B.A.Ed., M.A, University of West Florida
Non-Profit Founder: Allman Education, medicalcannabis101.org
Location: Pensacola, Florida, USA
Phone: 1-850-287-2509
Web: http://medicalcannabis101.org
Twitter and Instagram: @allmaneducation
Email: heatherallman@outlook.com or heather@medicalcannabis101.org
Linked In: http://linked.in/in/heatherjallman

Heather Allman