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Cannabis Consultant in Florida | Win a Medical Marijuana License

Cannabis Consultants in Florida: Updated July 2021 by our Cannabis Consulting Firm

Florida has had a medical marijuana program in place since 2014, and we may see the state with an adult-use marijuana program in the future. The market for marijuana in Florida is huge, and winning a recreational cannabis business license within this state would be extremely profitable for cannabis business entrepreneurs. With that, it is often easier to win a recreational license if you already have a medical marijuana business in Florida. Thankfully, Florida may offer additional medical marijuana licenses soon. Florida is in the process of preparing to issue 15 new licenses. Additionally, once the patient population exceeds 600,000, it will issue 4 more in addition to the 15. This means that 19 licenses may be available soon.

Our cannabis consultant in Florida can assist you with the application so that you can win a Florida cannabis business license.

Current Florida Medical Marijuana Market

The medical marijuana market in Florida is expected to reach up to $1 billion-$1.3 billion in 2021. Currently, over 500,000 individuals are medical marijuana patients in Florida. Medical marijuana treatment centers can sell both smokable and edible marijuana products. Additionally, the legislation in Florida plans to expand marijuana licensing opportunities within the state.

The current medical marijuana market in Florida has a very limited vertical licensing structure. Additionally, there are only 22 licenses for vertical medical marijuana treatment centers. However, there are 325 locations for those 22 licenses. As you can see, only a handful of companies control the marijuana market in Florida. These new licensing opportunities will hopefully give other players a shot.

The plan is to provide more stand-alone licenses and social equity opportunities. Also, this allows small businesses to open dispensaries and subcontract with processors and other retailers.

Overview of Medical Marijuana Bill in Florida

As mentioned above, Florida currently allows for medical marijuana sales within the state. With that, our Florida cannabis license consultants recommend familiarizing yourself with the rules and regulations that licensees and applicants need to follow when operating a cannabis business in Florida. If you want  to know more about specific material within the bill, the table  below outlines some important sections within the bill:

Rule Number Rule Title Effective Date
64-4.001 Definitions 9/19/2018
64-4.002 Initial Application Requirements for Dispensing Organizations 6/17/2015
64-4.004 Revocation of Dispensing Organization Approval 6/17/2015
64-4.005 Inspection and Authorization Procedures 6/17/2015
64-4.009 Compassionate Use Registry 6/17/2015
64-4.011 Medical Marijuana Use Registry Identification Cards 7/31/2018
64-4.013 Pesticide Use on Medical Marijuana 1/10/2019
64-4.023 Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Variance Procedure 1/10/2019
64-4.202 MMTC Inspection Procedures 6/10/2020
64-4.208 MMTC Background Screening 6/10/2020
64-4.210 MMTC Fines, Suspension, and Revocation 6/10/2020

 

The Florida Department of Health Office of Medical Marijuana Use is currently moving forward with an administrative rulemaking to establish an application process for the 15 new licenses. Once established, they will begin accepting applications in the Florida Administrative Register.

Types of Medical Marijuana Cannabis Business Licenses in Florida

As mentioned, Florida currently only has a legal medical marijuana market. With that, they offer a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center license, which can allow you to distribute, cultivate, or process medical marijuana with authorization. Once you receive a medical marijuana treatment center, you must apply for authorization.

What is a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Florida?

Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers in Florida are vertically integrated and are the only businesses in Florida that can dispense medical marijuana.

However, each Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Florida has to receive authorization at three stages. This includes cultivation authorization, dispensing authorization, and processing authorization.

Additionally, if you want to apply for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center, you have to pay an application fee of $60,830.

Application Process for a Dispensing Organization in Florida

If your business wants to be approved as a Dispensing Organization, you must submit an application to the department using Form “Application for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organization Approval.”

A Dispensing Facility in Florida is an area designated to be used for the dispensing of marijuana.

Dispensing Authorization in Florida is written notification by the department to a Medical Marijuana Treatment center that it may dispense medical marijuana products.

So, in order to dispense marijuana in Florida, you need Dispensing Authorization.  The non-refundable application fee for a Dispensing Authorization is $60,063.

Application for Dispensing Authorization in Florida

Scoring System for Florida Applications | Score High on Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Applications with our Cannabis Consultants in Florida

Scores for each section of the application will be combined to create the applicant’s total score.

Additionally, the department generates a final ranking of the applicants in order of highest to lowest scores. Any application which demonstrates a failure to pass a background screening,  and to comply with the minimum statutory requirements for cultivation, processing, dispensing, security, or general operations, will be denied and will not be considered in the final ranking of applications.

The two highest-scoring applicants that own one or more facilities that are, or were, used for the canning, concentrating, or otherwise processing of citrus fruit or citrus molasses and will use or convert the facility or facilities for the processing or marijuana will receive an additional 35 points to their respective total score.

Licenses will be awarded, subject to availability based on the highest total score in the following manner:

  • First, the highest-scoring applicant that is a recognized member of Pigford or BFDL will receive a license.
  • Second, the remaining highest scoring applicants will receive licenses up to the statutory cap set forth in section 381.986(8)(a)2.
  • Third, the remaining highest scoring applications will receive licenses up to the statutory cap set forth in section 381.986(8)(a)4., F.S.

Lastly, eligibility for additional licenses shall be determined pursuant to the number of active qualified patients in the medical marijuana use registry as of the date the department issues approvals for registration.

Tieing Applications for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Florida

In the event of a tie that will determine the awarding of a license, the following tiebreakers will be applied:

  • 1. The first tiebreaker will be the score for Section 14 – Financials: Certified Financial Documents. The applicant with the highest score in Section 14 will be awarded a license. In the event that this does not resolve the tie, then
  • 2. The second tiebreaker shall be the score for Section 15 – Financials: Business Structure. The applicant with the highest score in Section 15 shall be awarded a license. In the event that this does not resolve the tie, then,
  • 3. The third tiebreaker shall be the score for Section 13 – Diversity Plan. The applicant with the highest score in Section 13 shall be awarded a license. In the event that this does not resolve the tie, then
  • 4. The final tiebreaker shall be the score for Section 10 – Accountability: Operations.

Lastly, once approved, the applicant has 10 days to post a $5 million performance bond.

Can Anyone Apply for a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center License?

Anyone can apply for a license as long as they meet requirements from the state.

What is the Maximum Amount of Licenses a Person Can Hold?

A medical marijuana treatment center can not operate more than a maximum of 25 dispensing facilities within Florida. However, in the event that the medical marijuana use registry reaches 100,000 active registered qualified patients, and each time that number increases by 100,000, the maximum number of dispensing facilities will increase by five.

Medical marijuana treatment centers are not allowed to have more than the maximum number of dispensing facilities allowed in each of the Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest, and Southeast Regions.

The maximum number of medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facilities in Florida allowed in each region is made by calculating the percentage of the total statewide population contained within that region and multiplying that percentage by the medical marijuana treatment center’s statewide maximum number of dispensing facilities.

Application for Medical Marijuana Treatment Center in Florida

Timeline for Application

It is still unknown when the application will open for new medical marijuana businesses in Florida. With that, The Florida Department of Health will issue 19 new medical marijuana treatment centers sometime in 2021.

Required Criteria for Medical Marijuana Business Application in Florida

Business Plans for a Dispensing Organization in Florida

Additionally, a complete medical marijuana business application in Florida must contain the following information:

  • First, the name, position, and resume of the employees who provide the knowledge or experience explained for each item
  • Secondly, the technical and technological ability to cultivate, process, and dispense low-THC cannabis.

In order to prove that you have the technical and technological ability to cultivate, process, and dispense cannabis in Florida, you need to prove your experience in:

  • Cultivating cannabis
  • Cultivating in Florida plants not native to Florida
  • Introducing new varieties of plants
  • Regional cultivation
  • Cultivating plants for human consumption such as food or medicine
  • In-house propagation, genetic modification, clean-growing rooms

Additionally, your team needs to be knowledgeable about good handling, manufacturing, and agricultural practices for cannabis and cannabis products. Your team also needs to be familiar with laboratory methods and cannabis extraction methods.

Contact our cannabis consultants in Florida for assistance in writing your cannabis license application for Dispensing Authorization.

Scoring System

The Florida cannabis business license application is scored using the “Scorecard for Low-THC Cannabis Dispensing Organization Selection.” The department’s review shall be completed by:

  • Director of the Office of Compassionate Use
  • A member of the Drug Policy Advisory Council appointed by the State Surgeon General
  • A Certified Public Accountant appointed by the State Surgeon General

The applicant with the highest aggregate score in each dispensing region shall be selected as the region’s Dispensing Organization.

If there is a tie, each reviewer will re-review the tipped applications and select the one that wins a cannabis business license in Flordia.

If one medical marijuana nursery receives the highest score in multiple regions, one of which is the region represented by the address on the nursery’s certificate of registration, the applicant shall be approved for that region. With that, the second-highest scored applicant will be approved for the other region.

Lastly, once approved, the applicant has 10 days to post a $5 million performance bond.

Application Fees for Medical Marijuana Establishment in Florida

The application fee for a cannabis establishment in Florida is $60,063 and licensing fees are the same.

Remember, the Florida cannabis market utilizes vertical integration. This means that the business owns every stage of the supply chain.

Social Equity in Florida

In regards to creating social equity in Florida, state officials will focus on granting a single license to a Black farmer who meets certain criteria, including being a Pigford litigant. So, the law requires health officials to grant a license to one applicant that is a recognized class member of the “Pigford cases.” However, most surviving litigants of this case are in their 80’s and 90’s.

The law does not require the Pigford applicant to have resided in Florida while being involved in the lawsuit. With that, the law does require applicants to be registered to do business within the state for five consecutive years before submitting the application.

Industry insiders claim that this provision is very restrictive can limit eligibility for applicants.

Possession and Personal Cultivation Limits for Medical Marijuana Market in Florida

Personal growing of medical cannabis is not allowed in Florida. Registered medical marijuana patients in Florida can have no more than a 35-day supply or 4 ounces of in a smokable form. Additionally, they can have no more than a 70-day supply for all other forms.

6 Tips from our Cannabis Consultants in Florida | Win a License

If you want a cannabis business license in Florida, now is the time to start your application. This market is competitive but profitable. Here are some tips on how you can win a medical marijuana business license in Florida:

  1. First, read the bill. It is important for you to be familiar with the rules and regulations for licensing, as this is what allows you to score high on an application.
  2. Build a team. You will need a team of cannabis experts within your application. If you do not have a team yet, contact our cannabis consulting firm to help you build a strong team so that you can win a license
  3. Raise capital.
  4. Secure real estate or choose the municipalities you have an interest in
  5. Engage cannabis consultants. Our cannabis consultants at Quantum 9 can walk you through the entire application process.
  6. Lastly, write and submit your application.

Contact our cannabis consulting firm in Florida for more information about a medical marijuana business in Florida.

cannabis consulting floridaFuture Adult-Use Market in Florida

Our cannabis consultants in Florida are excited for a potential adult-use market in Florida within the near future. The senator of Florida refiled a bill that would legalize the sale of cannabis to anyone 21 and over. Additionally, adults would be able to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana products with this bill.

The bill will allow for the taxation of recreational marijuana sales. On the other hand, medical cannabis remains untaxed within this bill. With that, cities and towns can implement their own taxes on marijuana products.

The bill includes the application process for an adult-use cannabis license in Florida. So, what does this process look like?

The Application Process from a Cannabis Consultant in Florida

First, the applicant has to file an application for the desired marijuana establishment license. So, you can apply and receive more than one type of marijuana establishment license. However, a person licensed as a marijuana testing facility can not hold another marijuana establishment license.

So, if the recreational cannabis bill survives, the division will accept these applications by August 2022.

Local Control in Florida

Additionally, the number of marijuana establishments within a locality have a limit. So, this makes the application process competitive within the state. So, according to the bill, if a greater number of applications is received for the locality that is allowed the division will seek out advice from the locality for the ultimate decision. Also, local governments may also ban marijuana establishments.

The division gives preference to applicants with at least a year of previous experience in operating another business within the state.

With that, it is important to be in contact with your local government. It is never too early to talk to local government officials. Also, make sure to contact a cannabis consultant in Florida for an easy application process within Florida.

Limit for Retail Recreational Cannabis Establishments in Florida

Additionally, the division shall license no more than:

  • First, one retail marijuana store per every 5,000 persons in a locality with a population over 20,000.
  • Second, two retail marijuana stores in a locality with a population of at least 5,001 but less than 20,000.
  • Third, one retail marijuana store in a locality with a population of at least 2,000 but less than 5,001.

Also, the division can license one retail marijuana establishment store in a locality that has not prohibited retail marijuana stores.  Since Florida has a lot of tourism, the division can consider the impact of the seasonal population when making a decision on the number of licenses they will grant.

Rules for a Recreational Cannabis License in Florida

Also, there are certain rules for marijuana establishments in Florida. For example, the establishment can not be located within 500 feet of a private or public school. Additionally, there will be strict security measures for marijuana establishments in Florida. The security plan with your cannabis application is important to win a license in Florida. Our cannabis consultants in Florida are experts at application writing. Contact us to write a successful security plan.

Conclusions from our Florida Cannabis Consultants

Lastly, we hope to see a legal adult-use market in Florida by next year. However, the opportunity for a medical marijuana business license is still high. Our cannabis consultants are eager to help you open the cannabis business of your dreams. Contact us today to learn how we can help you win a cannabis license in Florida.

Lastly, take a closer look at the rules and regulations here.

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Natalie Jachymiak

About Natalie Jachymiak

Natalie is an author and marketing expert who covers topics related to business, policy, and licensing within the cannabis industry. She specializes in content creation, advertising, and public relations. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago majoring in Communications and Marketing.

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