Published On: Sun, Jan 10th, 2021

Lack of Dispensaries Across Florida Limits Access for MMJ Patients

With legal marijuana sweeping its way across the USA in recent years, it is no wonder that it is a hot topic at all levels of society. From the MORE Act, which could revolutionize and legalize marijuana at a federal level, to the recreational cannabis laws in 15 states, the current focus shifts strongly towards complete legalization of recreational marijuana. However, the topic of medical marijuana is just as important, as more states have made cannabis legal for medicinal purposes than for recreational purposes so far. But in a state like Florida, there are still shortages in supply that cannot keep up with the rising demand. The shortages lie primarily in the limited number of dispensaries across the state.

A change in the law

While getting a Florida medical marijuana card isn’t very difficult, access to medical marijuana products is harder than it should be. While cannabis has been legal for medical use in Florida since 2016, it was only in 2019 that smoking the plant was made legal. Up until then, it was only available in other forms, such as pills and oils for vaping. This means that, over the last two years, dispensaries have had to make up for lost time, with a massive surge in popularity of the medical cannabis now that people in Florida are able to legally smoke it. This means dispensaries have had to make way for cannabis flower in their stores, and this has proved to create a bit of a shortage.

One of the reasons for this is that dispensaries across the state, of which there are dozens (a relatively small amount when compared to the thousands in other states like Oklahoma), were originally built to stock only oils, pills and other forms of cannabis. While it can take a while for batches to go from the production line to the shelf, dispensaries in Florida have been specializing in these products for years now and have become fairly efficient at it.

A growing operation

However, now that the cannabis flower is legal for medicinal use, dispensaries need to make more room for larger quantities of cannabis. Not only does this take up more physical space, but it requires an expanded operation, which requires more workers and thus more investment of both money and time. It can take almost a year for a dispensary to create its own growing operation from scratch, and thus it is easy to see why shortages are occurring in Florida.

Over time, the shortages will disappear, but the timeline is definitely months and possibly years. For now, patients in Florida will simply need to deal with a lack of cannabis flower from the state’s already small number of dispensaries. 

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