Cannabis Patient Numbers Popping in Florida

My story today comes from The South Florida Sun Sentinel. It’s particularly dear to me because it might help settle a little family squabble. My 83-year old mother still cannot say the word “cannabis” when she asks what I do for a living.


I keep telling her “Don’t worry Mom, one day you’ll be calling me when you need some.” And according to this article, that time is coming:


After Hitting Record Numbers During the Pandemic’s Peak,

New Medical Marijuana Patients are Surging Again in Florida


HERE'S THE STORY

The the Florida Department of Health says the number of new medical marijuana patients spiked last summer during the first COVID-19 surge .


What's interesting is, even after a little decline in the fall, medical marijuana prescriptions are once again accelerating in the early months of 2021.


The state has seen 59% more Floridians qualified to get marijuana for treatment than this time last year.


In fact, numbers are at their highest levels since medical marijuana was approved by voters 5 years ago.

There are now more than 500,000 qualified patients in Florida.


One Florida physician with a perfect name for her career, Dr. Melanie Bone of West Palm Beach who specializes in women’s health and cannabis treatment, says she’s had more patients in her office since the pandemic began AND estimates a 20% increase in just the past month.

WHAT DOES THIS SUGGEST?


Just the fact that the patient community is growing so quickly, is evidence that:

  • Despite conservatives’ concerns, the approval of medicinal cannabis in Florida was absolutely the right thing to do to help people who are suffering serious medical conditions

  • Many of the Dr. Bone’s patients are suffering from classic symptoms of aging and COVID-burnout: anxiety, insomnia, poor appetite, weight loss and depression… Just the kinds of things we know cannabis can be effective at treating

  • For at least 500,000 people in Florida, plant-based medicine is a viable alternative when pharmaceuticals can't get the job done

  • AND perhaps most importantly: the stigma against cannabis is fading in Florida

DEEP DIVE


And by the way, those 500,000 patients are really punching above their weight.


There is a growing army of service providers to help these half-a-million cannabi get their medicine: there are 2,400 physicians currently licensed to approve patients for cannabis in FL, and more than 300 dispensaries statewide. (Except in Miami, apparently)


Marijuana Moment says “The medical marijuana market in Florida created nearly 15,000 new jobs in 2020 and now employs more than 31,000 state residents.”


And, quoting a report by report by Leafly, Florida recorded nearly $1.23 billion in marijuana sales in 2020, making Florida’s sales higher than every state except California and Colorado.


For reference, the Big Dogs of American Cannabis have both legalized "Adult Use", where Florida is medical-only.


THE LOOP BACK


Mom, I know you haven’t moved to Florida yet, but when do, Dr. Bone will have your cannabis prescription ready.

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