Florida’s Medical Marijuana Industry Is Thriving – The Number of Registered Users Is Approaching 750,000

Toby Hazlewood

A lot of physical and emotional pain to heal?

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Since medical marijuana was legalized in the state of Florida in 2019, the industry that sustains the needs of patients has gone from strength-to-strength.

A report from May 3 suggests that the number of registered medical marijuana users has more than doubled since the start of 2020, which has required that businesses in the industry grow accordingly to meet demand.

According to Javier Hasse, of Benzinga - a firm that tracks business trends:

“Cannabis is one of the few industries in the world that grew during the pandemic. Home deliveries and the fact that it was declared essential in the U.S. really helped, but deep down people were looking for something to deal with stress.”

Florida focuses on the health benefits of marijuana

During the state's legislative season, HB679 was introduced for discussions, and sought to clarify definitions associated with medical marijuana, but the bill was postponed indefinitely and withdrawn from consideration.

Freed from legislative interference, uptake of medical marijuana in the state has continued to increase.

As at April 2022, there were over 710,000 registered medical marijuana users in Florida, up from 300,000 in January 2020.

Nikki Fried is an advocate for legalized marijuana

Included in the total of registered users is Democrat Nikki Fried, current Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial election candidate. Fried apparently uses medical marijuana to help her manage a sleep disorder.

A strong advocate for legalized marijuana - perhaps as her partner is part-owner of a number of medical marijuana businesses - recently tweeted that as governor she would seek to make the drug fully legal.

Meanwhile, in a counterintuitive move, Fried is currently progressing lawsuit challenging federal government restrictions associated with marijuana and gun ownership.

The lawsuit challenges current restrictions that the government applies to those who use medical marijuana, which prevent them from owning guns.

What's behind the increase in users?

Medical use of the drug for residents of the state is seen as a good thing for aiding in the treatment of diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's and Multiple Sclerosis. Many other states are still playing catch-up in regard to legalizing the drug for medical purposes. Meanwhile in Florida, medical use allows for the treatment of chronic pain using marijuana.

Given the stress that many experienced during the pandemic, and which has surely continued to be a factor for many as they struggle to meet the rising cost of living will surely mean that the number of patients seeking to be registered for medical use continues to grow.

On this basis, industry analysts have predicted that Florida's medical marijuana business could continue to grow, reaching $1.5 billion in 2022.

Have you explored the use of medical marijuana? Are you in favor of the drug being fully legalized or do you think this would bring its own problems? Let me know in the comments section below.

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