Since voters had legalized medicinal use back in November of 2016, it is clear that the medical marijuana industry is making a huge leap in a state that long took a harsh stance against the beneficial herb.
According to a recent update released by the Department of Health, the state of Florida has increased the Office of Medical Marijuana Use's user registry by an amount of 144,557 patients. Given a state population of roughly 21 million total residents, this means virtually one out of every 145 Florida-natives is now legally authorized to use medical marijuana.
Considering these statistics it should be no surprise that Miami-Dade county is already set to open up its fifth dispensary by next week. The Tallahassee-based company Trulieve, which has 15 locations across the state, plans to open its second Miami-location in Dadeland. They have stated their reasoning for opening this new location is very simple: the demand for medical marijuana by patients within Miami-Dade county is clearly outweighing the supply. Trulieves' director of community relations reported their one location in Miami is "very overwhelmed and crowded with patients", and depending on the particular time of month is likely to serve more than 100 patients within a single day.
Despite this rise in the use of medical marijuana in Florida, it can still be difficult to obtain for some patients considering it remains a strictly-cash business at this point. Since insurance providers obviously do not cover medical marijuana treatment and it is still illegal under federal law, Trulieve reports that the average cost per visit for the patients is around $150, with each patient visiting on average of once per month. Based on the statistics there are 1,596 physicians qualified for ordering prescriptions in the state in addition to almost 50 total dispensaries that are currently open within Florida.
The Office of Medical Marijuana Use also receives anywhere between 2,000 to 3,000 new patient applications every week, so it is very likely that Miami along with the rest of the state should see even more of an increase in the amount of new dispensaries opening. Trulieve asserts that they aim to make access to their medication much easier for patients overall, but acknowledge that much of it is dependent on the development of the rules and regulations by the state going forward and in the near future.
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