Policy Recommendations Florida

2019-2020 Improvements and Recommendations for Florida

The Sunshine State's medical program saw a few notable improvements since the publication of last year's report. In 2019, the Florida 1st District Court of Appeals ruled that the forced-vertical integration language of 2016's Amendment 2 is unconstitutional, an action which could greatly expand the number of licensed medical retail locations. The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on the case in May of 2020, and a decision is expected later this year. Florida's population of registered patients and medical retail locations continue to expand. Dispensaries grew from 88 at the beginning of 2019 to 250 as of the latest update.

The COVID emergency measures adopted during 2020, included declaring cannabis businesses essential, authorizing use of telehealth visits for program registration renewals, and both curbside pick-up and delivery. ASA encourages Florida to maintain beyond the COVID emergency and enable patients to renew enrollment via telehealth.

A statewide hemp production program was approved in 2019, and the Florida Department of Agriculture opened the licensing application portal for hemp cultivators in April of 2020. Once the program is operational, Florida patients will be able to enjoy the benefit of CBD manufactured by in-state producers, which should reduce prices and expand product availability.

While these are positive developments, Florida patients still struggle with other ease of access issues. Caps on cannabinoid content continue to limit product options, while a weak caregiver infrastructure makes accessing medicine difficult for patients with mobility issues. Additional improvements must also be made related to laboratory testing and consumer safety standards, as well as product labeling.