Boasting more than 21 million people, Florida is the third most populated state in the U.S., and it’s growing. The Gulf State experienced more than 1.5 percent population growth last year. With this rising population, the revenue from medical cannabis is also on the rise in Florida. In fact, some data suggests Florida cannabis revenue could top 2.5 billion dollars in less than a decade.
Much to the dismay of many lawmakers, the voters passed Amendment 2, with a resounding 71 percent approval rate in November 2016 in the state of Florida. This amendment allows physicians to recommend the infamous herb to treat a wide array of chronic and debilitating ailments. Although patient registrations got off to a slow start in 2017, new reports show more than 100,000 people are currently registered to legally use medical marijuana within the state of Florida.
This surge in the market is creating ripples as major players in the legal cannabis industry pay close attention to the massive growth predictions for Florida weed revenue.
5 Factors Driving the Surge
Multiple factors play into this sudden increase in Florida's current cannabis environment. This handful of elements is creating the perfect storm for the savvy cannabis entrepreneur looking to take advantage of the Florida weed revenue green rush:
The Right Demographic
One only needs to look to the statistics to understand one of the main reasons Florida is a hot bed of activity for legal cannabis. From 2002 to 2014, the CDC reported ages 55-64 showed a 455 percent increase in admitted marijuana use, while those 65 and older displayed more than a 300 percent increase in marijuana use in the United States. Older citizens are clearly looking to medical cannabis as an alternative or adjunct therapy for a wide variety of ailments like chronic pain, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's, and others.
Florida is well-known for a large population of retired and aging Americans. Approximately 30 percent of Florida's population is over the age of 55, which creates a potentially huge client base for licensed medical marijuana producers.
An Expanding Program
Just last month, Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers gave the green light to cannabis businesses to expand their product line when she ruled, Floridians "have the right to use the form of medical marijuana for treatment of their debilitating medical conditions as recommended by their certified physicians, including the use of smokable marijuana in private places."
Additionally, Florida's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services plans to regulate marijuana infused edibles the same way it does other food products. In the meantime, edible producers wait anxiously for the state to establish the rules with cannabis food products.
Growing Medical Support
When the program first started in the summer of 2017, the number of certified physicians qualified to recommend medical marijuana grew slowly. However, today more than 1,300 doctors are registered with the state and successfully completed the required training to recommend the various types of cannabis-based medicine currently available. An increase of supporting medical professionals equates to easier patient access and education.
Recovering from the Opioid Crisis
In 2010, 98 of the top 100 opioid-prescribing doctors operated out of Florida pain clinics. Today, according to local statistics, heroin and other synthetics cause dozens of deaths each and every day in the state. More promising statistics show, states with medical marijuana programs can significantly reduce the number of opiates prescribed, reduce the number of opiate-related overdoses, and decrease the number of opioid-related emergency room visits.
Growing Social Acceptance
As the research on cannabis and anecdotal stories continue to proliferate in this age of information, more people begin to learn about the potential health benefits and treatments. As the patient base in Florida continues to grow, more stories of cannabis success will spread and catch the attention of others who may have previously felt hesitant to try the herb.
Florida Weed Revenue
As the success stories from health and wellness, as well as the financial aspects of the herb continue to highlight the industry, the stigma around being involved in the marijuana industry are being replaced with dollar signs – Investors are seeing green.
Regardless of which experts analyze the data, Florida weed revenue is expected to exceed three-quarters of a billion dollars within the next two years. BDS Analytics of Colorado and The Arcview Group predict the market may even reach 1.1 billion by 2020 according to their most recent report, "The State of Legal Markets."
Legalization of medicinal marijuana in Florida caters to the states aging demographic and the conditions which affect them. Additionally, medical marijuana offers hope to those previously afflicted by pharmaceutical addiction established during the peak of Florida's opioid epidemic. However you want to tally the numbers, legal marijuana is a booming business poised to not only change the economy in Florida, but change the way aging Americans perceive the powerful plant.