If you’re wondering why there’s so much legal fighting over medical marijuana licenses in Florida, here’s a billion-dollar answer.
According to the State of Legal Marijuana Markets report, legal marijuana in the U.S. is projected to grow to a $21.8 billion industry by 2020. And Florida is a big part of that projection.
The report is due out later this month, but according to the executive summary, Florida is one of four states best positioned to legalize medical marijuana. John Kagia, director of industry analytics for New Frontier and an editor on the report, said he expects Florida’s medical marijuana sales to hit $193 million in 2018.
“When the market is fully operational and the patient counts have grown, we anticipate that the Florida market will have grown to nearly 1.5 billion dollars by 2020,” Kagia said.
Florida’s older population will play a big role in that. That means there will be more patients with conditions like cancer that may turn to medical marijuana.
“We expect to see a lot of interest within this population for using medical marijuana as an alternative to the conventional therapies they’re using today,” Kagia said.
One wild card? Reciprocity. If Florida goes the way of Nevada and allows certified medical marijuana patients from other states to purchase cannabis in Florida, there could be a medical marijuana tourist market as well. The report doesn’t account for reciprocity.
Voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical marijuana. Florida’s legislature passed a narrow medical marijuana bill in 2014, but implementation has been delayed by lawsuits.
Reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.