Florida’s top medical cannabis operators tighten grip on growing market

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A handful of vertically integrated companies increased their stronghold on Florida’s fast-growing medical marijuana market in 2018, tripling the number of dispensaries they operate, as new business licensing stalled in the courts.

Overall, eight companies operate a total of 83 dispensaries in the state, according to a Dec. 21 state report, and five businesses operate 73 of those dispensaries. However, the 83 is up from 25 approved dispensaries a year ago.

Another four businesses offer MMJ delivery only, while the state’s remaining two approved licensees don’t yet have retail operations.

Here are Florida’s top MMJ operators based on the number of dispensaries they operate:

  • Trulieve: 22 dispensaries, up from 13 a year ago.
  • Curaleaf: 19 dispensaries, two a year ago.
  • Surterra Wellness: 17 dispensaries, four a year ago.
  • Liberty Health Sciences: eight dispensaries, none a year ago.
  • Knox Medical: seven dispensaries, six a year ago.

Florida’s medical marijuana sales are expected to total $200 million-$300 million in 2018, according to projections in the updated Marijuana Business Factbook 2018, a huge increase from an estimated $20 million-$40 million in 2017.

The number of patients with active ID cards has risen from 63,054 a year ago to 165,072.

The administration of Ron DeSantis, the Republican governor-elect, has indicated it might drop the appeal to a ruling that Florida’s MMJ caps are unconstitutional. If so, the market is expected to open to new companies in 2019.

Jeffrey Sharkey, executive director of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, recently told Marijuana Business Daily that the trade group would like to see additional licensees phased in until the state has about 30 vertically integrated businesses with no caps on the number of dispensaries they could open.