Florida ends ban on smokable cannabis, opening door to tens of millions in new sales


Florida’s dozen or so active healthcare marijuana firms are anticipated to see tens of millions of dollars in more sales by this summer time – thanks to a new law that repeals a controversial ban on smokable merchandise.

Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis created it official Monday when he signed a bill passed by lawmakers final week.

The law requires impact right away, but regulators should iron out the particulars. Flower sales are  anticipated to get started by no later than this summer time.

Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, one particular of the Florida’s biggest MMJ firms, mentioned she couldn’t place a certain quantity on how substantially smokable merchandise may well increase her company’s sales.

But she mentioned one particular can point to other markets across the nation exactly where flower accounts for up to 40%-60% of total dispensary sales.

In addition to sales to the state’s current 193,338 certified sufferers, “we do anticipate this (also) will be a draw for sufferers to enter the market place in Florida,” Rivers mentioned.

One particular caveat: Sales in current years have been moving away from flower and toward concentrates – in particular vape pens and cartridges.

Jeffrey Sharkey, executive director of the Health-related Marijuana Business enterprise Association of Florida, characterized the improvement as “significant” for the currently speedy-developing market.

The updated Marijuana Business enterprise Factbook estimated that Florida’s healthcare cannabis market hit $200 million-$300 million in sales in 2018.

That is compared to sales of $20 million-$40 million in 2017.

Flower readily available by summer time, if not sooner

Following the law’s enactment, here’s what will occur subsequent:

  • The law becomes helpful right away, but the Florida Division of Wellness should create and approve guidelines to let for smokable merchandise, Sharkey mentioned. “That would take 90 days or so if not challenged,” he noted.
  • Sharkey mentioned he would anticipate smokable merchandise to be readily available by the summer time. Rivers of Trulieve mentioned it could occur prior to that. “All indicators are that Gov. DeSantis would like this to be implemented immediately,” she mentioned.
  • The law enables certified sufferers to acquire up to two.five ounces of cannabis each and every 35 days.
  • Larger retail sales also will bode nicely for ancillary solutions, Sharkey noted.

DeSantis had urged lawmakers to lift the ban on smokable merchandise right after courts ruled the ban violated a constitutional amendment legalizing MMJ that was passed by voters in 2016.

Health-related marijuana operators in Florida have been aggressive lobbying for pro-enterprise provisions, donating at least $two.five million to state lawmakers and political parties given that the summer time of 2016, according to the Miami Herald.

Surterra has donated $1.1 million, which includes $50,000 to DeSantis’ gubernatorial campaign, followed by Trulieve, $564,000, and Curaleaf, $469,000, according to the report.

Kim Hawkes, senior manager of government and public relations for Surterra Wellness, one particular of Florida’s biggest MMJ firms, didn’t comment about the lobbying report.

But she mentioned the repeal of ban on smokable merchandise is a “great instance of our state government supporting the will of the folks.”

Hawkes mentioned Surterra plans to offer you pre-rolls in a range of strains and potencies as quickly as the system is authorized, and then more entire flower merchandise later in the year.

Expansion in a tightly controlled market place

The expansion of merchandise even though comes as Florida’s MMJ market place remains tightly controlled by a handful of firms.

Florida has a vertically integrated healthcare marijuana market and caps on the quantity of dispensaries, each of which also have been ruled unconstitutional in current months.

In January, DeSantis urged lawmakers to loosen licensing guidelines so extra businesses could enter the market place.

New licensing has been in limbo even though a variety of legal challenges to the state’s restrictions and approach have worked via the courts.

In the meantime, 5 businesses – Trulieve, Surterra, Curaleaf, Knox Health-related and Liberty Wellness Solutions – manage the vast majority of the state’s dispensaries.

In reality, these 5 firms operated 91, or 85%, of the state’s 107 dispensaries statewide as of March eight, according to Florida Division of Wellness figures.

Till other licensees expand or the market place opens up to new licensees, these firms probably stand to obtain the most from the elimination of the ban on smokable merchandise.

At least some of the other licensees do have significant plans to expand.

On Monday, Cresco Labs, the Chicago-primarily based vertically integrated cannabis organization, agreed to obtain VidaCann in a $120 million money and stock deal. VidaCann presently has only seven dispensaries in Florida, but had plans to expand that quantity to 20 by year-finish.

Jeff Smith can be reached at [email protected]


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