It’s been over a month since our last update when we first recognized Republican House Representative Ray Rodrigues’ last ditch effort to dismantle the Florida medical cannabis industry. Due to the nature of how quickly events were unfolding on a daily basis during the end of the legislative session, I found our Twitter feed to be a more practical way of keeping all of you updated. (If you aren’t already following us, do that! The highlighted text above links to our handle: @FLMCCollective.)
Thankfully, the legislative session ended with Rodrigues failing in his attempts; the Florida Senate effectively tabled the bill indefinitely, allowing it to die, at least until the next legislative session that begins in March 2020. This means that our medical cannabis industry will continue to expand at a rapid rate: we are now over 250,000 patients, and it doesn’t look like anything is going to slow down any time soon.
The following paragraphs will give my perspective on the current state of the industry as a whole, and comment on the current flower offerings from each Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC). Flower is what many patients use for their main course of cannabis treatment (myself included), and it’s currently the fastest growing area of the Florida cannabis industry.
State of the Florida Cannabis Industry: May 15, 2019
Since the passing of SB 182 and the full legalization of medical marijuana flower in Florida, the industry has only accelerated in its growth. This is good for the industry as a whole in the long run, but is causing some growing pains for most patients right now, namely in the form of long wait times and stock issues, particularly with flower. The average price for an eighth (3.5 grams) of flower is around $50. Prerolls are around $13 for a gram.
Trulieve is the main supplier of flower in the state for the moment, but other MMTCs are rolling out or have already rolled out their flower as well, and will soon (hopefully) provide more competition. The state’s laws make it hard to provide adequate stock as it is, so MMTCs are having to adjust to the new high demand for flower. There currently seems to be a gradual increase of overall availability; the past couple of weeks saw most locations being completely sold out of flower for days at a time, save for the lucky few patients who endured long wait times (some for several hours) to get their product of choice.
Fluent (formerly branded as Knox) released their flower yesterday with one strain available (that nobody in the state has had until now): Grandaddy Purp.
The quality of flower across the board seems to be mostly good to great, and will only improve with time and experience.
Brief Overview of each MMTC’s Flower
Trulieve’s flower has been available for well over a month now; in fact, they were the very first MMTC to release flower a mere 3 days after Governor Desantis signed SB182 into law.
For the most part, reviews of their flower have been excellent. My personal experience with their flower has been really good. Like many other patients in the various online communities, I’ve found some batches to be a little too dry; other than that, I’ve really enjoyed every single eighth I’ve bought.
Trulieve also has prerolls available; I found these to be enjoyable as well.
Where Trulieve was the first to MMTC to release smokable flower, Curaleaf has been the first (and so far only) MMTC to offer flower in bulk quantities: quarter ounces and ounces have been available as well.
Curaleaf seems to have high quality flower as well (I haven’t personally tried it), with the consensus placing the quality near Trulieve’s flower quality.
Many patients have been boycotting Curaleaf due to them not being transparent with a “rollout pricing” promotion on their ounces of flower. The initial price for an ounce from Curaleaf was $300; after about a week, without any announcement, the price was raised to $345/$360 depending on the strain. The timing of this price raise with Ray Rodrigues’ threatening the industry lead many to believe that Curaleaf was capitalizing on the current political climate at the expense of Florida cannabis patients.
Regardless of how you feel about their business strategy, Curaleaf remains as one of the main players in the Florida cannabis industry with high quality flower products.
Though their availability is currently very limited due to their small number of locations, RiSE has made an impact in the Florida medical cannabis industry already with their reputation of very high-quality flower. Many patients argue that RiSE currently has the highest quality flower in Florida, with most agreeing that the quality is higher than what can be found at Trulieve, Curaleaf, MUV, and Liberty Health Sciences. The only other MMTCs that seem to currently be in the same class as RiSE are GrowHealthy and VidaCann. As the industry grows, this is sure to change; however, other MMTCs should be on the top of their game as RiSE expands their locations throughout the state.
With several batches that have rang in near or over 30% THC, GrowHealthy definitely takes its place with Rise and VidaCann as the current Top 3 MMTCS in Florida for flower quality. GrowHealthy currently only offers flower for in-store patients, but hopefully this will change soon; since GrowHealthy offers statewide delivery, they could really benefit from ramping up flower production to meet the needs of the patients who enjoy their product.
With only a few physical locations open, this means that not many patients have been able to try GrowHealthy’s flower – so you guys will have to let us know how good it is if you’ve been lucky enough to try it!
VidaCann has also had several batches flirt with the 30% THC mark, with patients on the Florida Medical Trees Subreddit raving about the quality of their flower. VidaCann is currently quickly expanding their locations, so we expect them to remain one of the key players for cannabis flower in Florida for the foreseeable future. VidaCann hasn’t been able to offer quite the same variety of strains as the preceding MMTCs on this list (there’s usually only one or two strains available from the at any given time), but we expect for this to change as they expand.
MUV (Altmed Florida)
It hasn’t been all that long since MUV released their flower cups, which received rave reviews all across various Florida medical cannabis social media. Their loose flower has been of similar (excellent) quality from the posts we’ve seen; the issue seems to be that they aren’t carrying much of it in stock. Of all the MMTCs that are known to carry high quality flower, we see the least amount of posts of MUV flower. Cannabis patients on the Florida Medical Trees subreddit have expressed that their local dispensary always seems to be out of stock of loose flower when they visit; if anything, flower cups were available.
As with all other current growing pains in the industry, we expect this to resolve itself as each MMTC grows and expands. For now, MUV retains its reputation for having some of the highest quality cannabis flower in product – if you can get your hands on some.
Liberty Health Sciences
Liberty Health Sciences has been hit-or-miss with both flower and preroll availability in the near-month that they’ve had flower. Reviews across the various medical cannabis communities have been mixed, with many comparing the flower to “ditch weed”, “mids”, “reggie”, etc. At $28, this flower is the cheapest in the Florida market, so I suppose you get what you pay for.
LHS, like VidaCann, has only had a couple of strains available since they released flower. Hopefully this, and the quality of their product, will both improve as we move forward.
Fluent (Formerly Knox)
Knox recently went through a rebranding phase, now calling themselves “Fluent” and as of yesterday, offering flower to Florida cannabis patients. Fluent has been known for renaming well-known cannabis strains, like Grandaddy Purp, into their own names – Polaris in this example.
Currently, GDP/Polaris is the only strain available from Fluent, and reviews have been generally positive. We will wait to see the other strains that Fluent offers; the fact that nobody else is currently offering GDP does give them some novelty in this area. We look forward to seeing more from them!
Coming Soon: Surterra Wellness
The current buzz around various Surterra dispensaries and social media is that they will begin to offer flower within the next couple of months.
As most of Surterra’s current products are based around CBD:THC ratios rather than strain-specific products, it will be interesting to see what type of flower products they offer. Ratio CBD:THC prerolls sold as Zen, Relief, etc.? We will see!
The Florida medical cannabis industry is continuing to grow at a rapid pace, and most all MMTCs are now offering flower. Thankfully, the Florida House GOP was unable to thwart the medical cannabis industry, and it will continue to thrive through 2020 and beyond. We look forward to seeing how the industry continues to grow and expand, and how flower continues to improve in quality and availability. Times may be a little tough now due to the limit of product, the wait times, and the high prices – but I believe they will get better as the industry continues to grow.
The next thing to watch for are cannabis edibles, as word is that the Department of Health is in the final stages of approving various edible cannabis products. Stay tuned!
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