The number of medical marijuana treatment centers is growing in Florida, and so is the number of people registering to use those facilities.
As of Thursday morning, 30,008 patients have signed up for ID cards from the Medical Marijuana Use Registry. The number of people who have registered has jumped by nearly 7,000 in the past three weeks alone.
Department of Health officials say they have seen “a significant and steady increase in volume since Amendment 2 took effect.”
Yet the 30,000 figure is a far cry from the number of people the state expects to register for medical marijuana use.
Based on what other states that permit medical marijuana have experienced, Florida expects between 1 and 2 percent of the state’s population to register. That translates into somewhere between 200,000 and 400,000 people who are expected to register.
Those patients who are already registered in Florida will soon have more treatment centers to chose from.
Amendment 2, which legalized marijuana for medical purposes, was passed by voters in November. The Legislature enacted legislation to implement the amendment during its special session in June. Since then, state health officials have been busy adopting the implementing rules for the amendment.
“The department is working diligently to implement the requirements of Amendment 2 and Senate Bill 8A,” said Mara Gambineri, spokesperson for the state health department.
So far, state health officials have issued medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) licenses to those businesses that were previously approved dispensing facilities.
The Florida Department of Health issued licenses on Wednesday to two more medical marijuana treatment centers–Treadwell Nursey in Eustis and Sun Bulb Nurseries in Arcadia.
Plants of Ruskin and 3 Boys Farm were granted licenses last week. Both of those facilities are located in Ruskin.
A fifth license, for a grower called Loop’s, is still working its way through the process.
“We’re working through the drafting of the regulations that will include the licensing application for the additional five licenses as directed by the law,” Gambineri added.
The five businesses that were recently awarded a license, or is in the process of being awarded one, were applicants from 2015. They either scored within a point of the top applicant or who filed legal or administrative challenges to the process..
When the Legislature enacted its implementing bill in June it stipulated a total of 10 new licenses, including the five recently approved, would be granted by the end of the year. The remaining five will be awarded by Oct. 3.
Currently there are 16 MMTC dispensing locations open across Florida. For more information on those centers you access the Florida Department of Health’s MMTC website by clicking here.