Florida Cannabis License
Navigating The Ever-Changing Floridian Market for Marijuana
Cannabis in the form of medical marijuana and hemp has been legalized in Florida over a relatively short time. While steadily progressing towards regulation, this has happened in intervals as lawmakers approach the cannabis industry with cautious optimism. Florida-specific laws greatly affect requirements and processes for obtaining a medical marijuana business license, as well as the business size, structure, and other application requirements.
In 2014, high CBD low THC cannabis oil was made available for qualified medical use. In 2016 voters passed the Florida Medical Marijuana License Initiative with a 71% majority vote. Under the original regulation enforcement, some popular forms of cannabis were banned, such as smokeable and edible THC products. Restrictions on smokable cannabis were found to be unconstitutional by a court in 2019. Medical marijuana patients who have only recently gained access to smokable cannabis have appeared to embrace the change. State authorities reported sales of more than 22,000 pounds of smokable cannabis sold to medical patients within the first 6 months of repealing the ban.
Applying for a Marijuana Business License in Florida
Medical marijuana licenses are administered by the Florida Department of Health
Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) in the state. A limited number of licenses are issued, however, applicants who plan for future changes in license capacity will be better prepared once licenses become available. Licensed medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs) must pass a grading system established by the state, and provide documentation of the production and dispensing capabilities of a business. This system creates the requirement for vertically integrated cannabis businesses of relatively large size, details of which can be found on the state’s FAQ for Medical Marijuana Business. While current rules prevent small and specialty medical cannabis businesses from acquiring licenses, future legislation could change these requirements, opening the door for smaller marijuana operations in Florida.
Florida Medical Cannabis License
Medical patients must currently have one of the following conditions to apply for a Medical Marijuana license:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those above
- A terminal condition
- Chronic nonmalignant pain
Patients are also required to be a Florida resident, be entered into the Medical Marijuana Use Registry, and obtain a Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Card. Further instructions can be found on the OMMU website. Doctors who prescribe medical marijuana are required to take an 8-hour course administered by the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association to meet medical qualification requirements, as well as being board-certified physicians. While public consumption of marijuana remains illegal, medical marijuana laws make it possible for hospice care facilities to allow marijuana use, which could be especially helpful for terminally ill patients.
Hemp Growing Licenses in Florida
The Florida Department of Agriculture issues cultivation licenses for hemp cannabis (cannabis containing less than 0.3% THC) as well as a variety of other permits for extraction and product sales and manufacturing. In 2019 Florida legislators passed Senate Bill 1020, regulating and allowing industrial hemp production and sales. Since the adoption of industrial hemp over 18,000 acres of hemp have been approved. With significantly lower application fees and integration requirements, hemp cultivation and sales have become an alternative path for smaller businesses entering the Florida cannabis market.
Cannabis Consulting in Florida
Future changes to Florida’s legal marijuana licensing programs will surely influence the entire cannabis industry in the state. The short, eventful history of Florida cannabis regulation indicates future changes are soon to come, and growing support for cannabis may soon lead to the legalization of adult-use cannabis. Consulting services can be valuable in long-term strategy planning, as well as adjusting to changing regulations. Gateway Proven Strategies (GPS) provides cannabis consulting in Florida for new and established businesses and helps clients with professional and industry-specific services in the cannabis industry.