Florida’s Current Medical Marijuana Program Unbeneficial for Patients
Less than a week into 2017, the Cannabis Industry activists in Florida are already strategizing an approach to push the agenda for an open market. This necessity stems from fact that the current 7 cannabis licensees’ are investing their resources in lobbyist to push their agenda, which is to maintain the status quo. Opening up the market to hundreds of other cannabis entrepreneurs directly affects what many believe to be a multi-billion dollar market that would currently only be accessible to 7 different license holders.
On January 5th, Florida For Care hosted the “2017 Medical Marijuana Policy Conference – Opening Network Reception” at Greenspoon Marder’s Law Offices in Fort Lauderdale. Several dozens of cannabis industry insiders and activists from around the country convened at the event with the intentions to discuss and organize the push for a more open market. Ben Pollara, from Florida for Care, stated it best, “There are the have’s and the have not’s, and everyone here tonight are the have not’s.” The point he was making alludes to the notion that there are competing views currently in the Florida Cannabis Industry. Those who seek to monopolize the market and those who prefer an open market. Promoting an open market is an objective view, since an open market by nature encourages health competition, which ultimately lowers prices and creates higher quality goods. The patients come first in this industry, thus lower prices and better quality is a must.
On the other hand, those who seek to monopolize the market are purely speaking from the vantage point of a business, which is a subjective perspective based upon profit margin rather than a more human concern for the end user. Currently, the 7 cannabis licensees’ cannot produce enough medicine to supply the existing market. To make matters worse, the prices on the medicine comes with a high mark up cost. One patient vented on Facebook stating that Trulieve, a current cannabis licensee holder in Florida, is selling (.25g) of cannabis oil for $125, which equates to $500 a gram. At the moment gold is approximately $38 a gram, if the facebook statement is true, then it proves that currently most patients will not be able to afford the medicine. The latter highlights the fact that under the current medical marijuana program in Florida an issue of affordability exists.
Hopefully the new medical marijuana program in Florida will adjust appropriately to reflect the fact that the patient’s needs are at the forefront of the policymaking. The end point being that the state of Florida needs to embrace an open market. Doing so will lead to safe, reliable and affordable access to medical marijuana for Florida patients.
Rolando Vazquez, Esq.