The Florida medical cannabis market is estimated to be $250 million. This potential is certain to bring interest from companies. But how? In 2017, there was a Florida law limiting the number of medical marijuana licenses to 10, with 4 additional licenses for every 100,000 patients. A judge recently overturned this law, potentially opening up the flood gates to a more competitive medical marijuana marketplace. However, licensing still proves difficult (and very expensive), with Florida having only 14 active licenses. Though the state has the legal ability to grant additional licenses, qualifying is the hurdle.
The State of Florida Department of Health, Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) oversees and governs Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC). Here is a guide to help navigate the licensing requirements.
There is a 16 point section to apply for an MMTC license. Out of the 1150 possible points assigned, 300 points are set aside for the license applicant’s “technical” ability, about one quarter of the evaluation criteria. This includes knowledge, experience, cultivation, processing, and dispensing knowledge. This criteria is clear: it wants its license holders to be experts.
The application process to get a MMTC values 200 points on accountability for dispensing and on cultivating premises. Having strong internal record keeping is critical to show to the State for licensing. You can’t manage what you can’t measure. Illustrating superior accountability standards is critical.
250 points are set aside for Infrastructure for processes in cultivation, processing, and dispensing, along with facility infrastructure. Similar to the high accountability and technical ability standards, the state is favoring strong, established grown up companies to hold these licenses.
Though it accounts for 200 points it’s likely the most important piece. Not only will the OMMU analyze the financial strength of the applicant, but the financials need to be certified which adds costs to an already expensive process. An applicant has to pay a non-refundable $60,830 fee! This alone eliminates much of the competition for existing license holders.
If an applicant is willing to spend that kind of money just to apply, the company has big plans in the Florida MMTC marketplace. One other major hurdle to consider before paying the application fee is the license applicant’s ability to furnish the state required $5 million performance bond. The bond is required to guaranty compliance with the laws of carrying a MMTC license. Unlike insurance, not all applicants can get a bond. There is a qualification underwriting process which can prove difficult to many. Even if the applicant does qualify, finding a surety company that writes bonds associated with the cannabis industry is difficult. At Surety1 we have access to the surety companies willing to write this bond. Call us at 877-654-2327 to speak with a surety professional.