“Growing” Pains: The Medical Marijuana Industry in Florida
What They’re Doing Right and Wrong
Mind & Body Essentials, Sarasota Florida
“Soothing relief in a stressful world”
Florida is growing and, in more ways, than one. New Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC’s) are popping up at a rate of one per week. The month of May introduced eleven new dispensaries alone. However, there is a growing concern: are we growing in the right direction?
The trifecta of required vertical integration (licensing for growing, manufacturing and distribution), is keeping most farmers out of the race. The cost to apply for the license which is non-refundable, is over 60K and the application is comparable to reading the entire IRS website. It doesn’t stop there – you better be ready to pony up close to $50 Million to get from seed to store.
Why should we care, you may ask? Florida only allows each MMTC to carry the cannabis that they produce. That means as of right now, three companies mostly decide what’s best for Florida residents and their condition. So, if sativa works better for you than indica, you may need to do some shopping. Looking for a little 9-Pound Hammer or White Willow? Don’t expect your doctor (or even the dispensary staff) to know the difference! Or, as Mynatt puts it, “Where is the Bubba Kush? The best strain for PTSD and NOBODY has it!”
That brings us to the education of the doctors. In order to receive a license to prescribe medical marijuana, a physician pays $250 dollars for a whopping 2-hour course.
When asked about education within the cannabis community, Mynatt responded, “Education is extremely important; I strive to create a place of learning in my shop and throughout the community. No one, from the doctor to budtender (the guy behind the counter at the dispensary), is giving correct information to the patients. I have older people coming to me all the time with the wrong strains and dosage amounts for their conditions. This is causing them to not trust cannabis as a medicine; a real tragedy.”
Does the whole system seem set up more with money than people in mind? As of now we have just over 2,293 prescribing physicians in Florida to cover the 298,337 patients who have active ID cards. Math time! So, doctors pay $250 each + patients pay $75 each. This is equating to a hell of a lot of money going to the government and that’s just for the first year.
We may also be seeing the first steps (hopefully) toward removing the obstacle of vertical integration in the state and allowing a little more free-market enterprise. Who knows? Maybe one day, The Sunshine State, will have, Sunshine, on its strain list at our local dispensaries.
Mindful Medicinals 941-374-4817
*All opinions expressed (and sarcastic comments) are entirely my own. Statistical information can be reviewed on the FMA and OMMU websites.