By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service
November 20, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- Floridians are flocking to flower when it comes to medical marijuana.
A new report compiled for the state Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine shows nearly half of the state's 300,000 patients are using smokable medical marijuana, but some believe those numbers might be slightly misleading.
44% of the state's 291,000 qualified patients are certified to use smokable medical marijuana even though it's only been available for half a year.
In those six months, 57 tons of whole flower marijuana has been dispensed.
Some advocates, like Jeff Sharkey with the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, aren’t surprised.
Sharkey said the traditional method has its appeal.
“Folks, certainly boomers and in their middle age are familiar with 'joints' probably find that a useful method of application,” said Sharkey.
Others are skeptical, like marijuana advocate Josephine Cannella-Krehl who founded MMJ Knowladge.
She said because edibles still aren’t available in Florida, many patients are using flower to make their own.
“You know that's a big ethical dilemma that we've set up a program where in order to access the whole plant a person may have to go in and lie to their doctor,” said Cannella-Krehl.
While edibles still haven't been approved, the draft rules so far suggest that when they are, restrictions will be severe.
“Tasteless, colorless, odorless, no additives. And if you look at other markets that have used edibles like California or Nevada it sort of runs the gamut. Everything from gummies to chocolates to lozenges and between,” said Nick Hansen with MedMen.
Strict rules could force Floridians to keep 'baking their own brownies' for the foreseeable future.
The popularity of whole flower has its benefits for distributors.
Unlike concentrates, whole flower is much cheaper to produce, which means higher profit margins for MMTCs many of whom are struggling to turn a profit.