The year is still just beginning, but there is already a lot of activity in Florida’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) as it prepares for a flood of medical cannabis business applications in 2023 after being stagnant for 8 years. While Florida citizens with medical cannabis cards overwhelm current Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), the rest of the State is asking – “What about adult-use?”

This is a fair question, but one that is not so easily answered. Industry experts are speculating which states will legalize adult-use in 2023, and it is no surprise that Florida is not one of them. Considering how long it has taken for the State to open an application round for medical cannabis businesses, it could be another two years or more for adult-use to get off the ground. In fact, the current efforts to get the State to legalize adult-use cannabis have come with backlash from both supporters and non-supporters of cannabis.

Trulieve Cannabis, a Florida-based multistate operator (facing its own legal battles), has now contributed $20 million towards the State’s legalization campaign, led by Smart and Safe Florida. Trulieve also helped write the campaign’s proposal, which needs upwards of 900,000 signatures to qualify for a ballot position, and then an additional 222,898 signatures for judicial and financial impact review. Currently, the proposal has approximately 150,000 signatures from registered Florida voters gathered between December 2022 and this month. 

Industry experts are not thrilled with the current adult-use legalization efforts however, as the proposal does not allow home grow, and permits currently operating MMTCs to begin selling adult-use cannabis before anyone else can even apply for a license. Trulieve is presently the largest MMTC in the State, with over 115 dispensaries statewide. One could see this effort as Trulieve’s way of giving its company a leg up on those who are not currently medical operators, but would seek to open adult-use stores. The current proposal would prohibit new operators from applying when adult-use sales could begin, but would rather, permit existing medical stores, such as Trulieve, to make the initial adult-use sales.

It will be interesting to see what happens this year once Florida opens applications for medical cannabis operators, and how that will affect adult-use legalization measures. The petition must gather the necessary number of signatures to be put on the ballot in November of 2024, so there is still a long way to go.

However, great movement shows in the State’s medical cannabis round openings this year. This year, 2023, will be a great boost to the State’s medical cannabis program, with the OMMU opening its next medical cannabis dispensary license rounds in April of this year. The window is only 5 days, which means your competition started preparing months ago. If you’re not starting yesterday, you’re minimizing your chances to win one of these coveted licenses. Sign up for a free 15 minute consultation to learn more about how to win a cannabis business license! Check in to our blogs, as we continue to drop more information about the current legal cannabis market.