Florida is predicted to become one of the largest medical marijuana markets in the United States, potentially servicing somewhere in the neighborhood of 500,000 patients within the next few years. Interestingly, many of these people will be “new customers,” never having frequented the black market for weed, much less stepped foot inside a state licensed dispensary that makes buying marijuana as easy as walking into a pharmacy to pick up a regular prescription.
But a number of cannabis companies presently operating throughout the state are trying to make these newcomers feel at ease with the freedom to purchase legal cannabis products.
“The idea is to make patients feel comfortable, to make a mother with a sick child or a sick parent – or herself, who is dealing with an ailment – make her feel comfortable to bring her child in with her or bring her elderly parent in here and not feel like she is doing something wrong,” Monica Russell, a spokesperson for the Surterra Wellness Center, told the Tallahassee Democrat. “We’re not going to hide what we’re doing.”
The state-licensed dispensaries currently providing medicine to Florida patients are selling products like sprays, tinctures, and lotions. Some of these stores will soon begin distributing vaporizer liquids. However, marijuana in smokeable form is not permitted under state law.
In order to qualify for the program, patients must first get their hands on a recomedation from a state-certified physician. But the law requires a patient to have a bona-fide relationship with a doctor before this can take place, so it could conceivably take a person several months of seeing a new family doctor or specialist before cannabis medicine could ever be discussed as part of their treatment program.
As it stands, there are only around 400 doctors in the entire state that have completed the state mandated online training course to certify patients for participation.
Despite the program’s current position, legal but lingering in a purgatorial phase, as the industry waits for the state legislature to hash out all of the regulations, it is just a matter of time before the state’s medical marijuana program grows into a wealthy monster. There are now just a over 1,000 patients cleared to buy medical marijuana, but the language of the law, which was cleared through the passing of Amendment 2, opens the market up to hundred of thousands more patients.
It is for this reason that area dispensaries are working to put people at ease about what it means to by medical marijuana. Some of the latest predictions show the majority of the patients set to take advantage of the state’s medical marijuana program will most likely be senior citizens, many of which have never used cannabis before due to its outlaw status.