Medical marijuana is perhaps one of the biggest emerging practices in healthcare management since the onslaught of support for it in recent years has expanded to enormous proportions. Now that the cannabis plant has been legalized in Colorado and Washington, there have been other states that have followed similar suit and legalized it for medical use only. On Tuesday, Florida will add their name to that list, but it is an extremely restrictive form of law.
The Florida law that was passed nearly two years ago has been stalled in the statehouse due to legal challenges that have been rolled out against it, according to CNBC. But now, the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 has made its way through the hurdles and will be rolled out to patients starting this Tuesday, but not without its restrictions.
First of all, what people need to know about this new medical marijuana law is that it is only designed to relieve pain and symptoms associated with seizures and other chronic illnesses. That means the medical marijuana that is allowed to be dispensed will carry a low THC count, thus eliminating the euphoric feeling that marijuana has classically given to its users.
This comes as no surprise. Florida is mainly controlled by a conservative government and American conservatives have classically been against the legalization of marijuana in any form, no matter what it is for. After the state legislature passed the watered down version of the law, Governor Rick Scott signed it in 2014.
There is also something else that appears to be fishy about the roll-out of medical marijuana this week in Florida. Although several people have applied to cultivate the marijuana, only one company in particular has been given license to sell it. In today’s market, that just seems to have corruption labeled all over it, giving the impression that someone has their hands in the Governor’s pockets and this person may just get rich right at the beginning since they do not have any competition for the new product that is in high demand all across Florida, and the nation.
There is now market speculation that the medical marijuana industry in Florida could be a $1.5 billion industry by the end of 2020, should it be prosperous in the state.
Leslie Bocskor, president of Las Vegas-based cannabis-focused investment firm Electrum Partners, spoke with CNBC about what the medical marijuana market in Florida could look like over the coming years.
“Florida stands to be one of the biggest medical marijuana markets,” Bocskor told CNBC. “We could see probably close to $1 billion invested in the infrastructure of the Florida market. The aging population there is the demographic that tends to skew most aggressively toward being new adopters of medical cannabis.”
But that is from the broader market view for medical marijuana. If you were to look at it from an investor’s point of view, that outlook could be a lot grimmer. Given that medical marijuana is still an emerging market in Florida, as well as in other American states, the ground floor investments could look shaky at best and there is still the black market to contend with.
Most investors will see the law as to sketchy to allow for much growth in the market, especially given the fact that the only marijuana that will be allowed will be the strain with a low THC count. Although there is certainly an opportunity there for long-term growth, it has been minimized by the constraints the law has imposed.
There is also the requirement within the Florida medical marijuana law that demands that anyone who wants a license must have had a plant nursery in business for the past 30 years in order to even be eligible.
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