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Florida  cannabis consultants


Cannabis Consultant Insights

Intro to Florida Cannabis Business
Regulatory framework of florida cannabis
Types of Cannabis Licenses in Florida
Number of Cannabis Business Licenses Available 
Obtaining a Cannabis Business License in Florida
Operating a Florida Cannabis Business

Florida Cannabis Consultant Insights


Florida Cannabis Business Licensing and Operations

The Florida medical marijuana market has changed a lot since medical cannabis was legalized in 2016. Now, there are many Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs), dispensaries, and related businesses in the state. With over 800,000 registered patients and a market value expected to be more than $1 billion per year, Florida is one of the best states for medical marijuana entrepreneurs. Both new entrepreneurs and established companies are attracted to the potential profits that Florida's cannabis industry holds. 

Florida stands out as an attractive market because of its large population, limited license model, and changing laws regarding cannabis including the potential for adult use cannabis legalization being passed in the November 2024 vote. If you're interested in taking advantage of these opportunities, it's essential to have knowledge and a well-thought-out plan. This guide is designed to be a valuable resource for anyone who wants to enter or expand their presence in Florida's cannabis market.


For professional support tailored to your needs, you can work with our team of cannabis business consultants at Cann Strategy, who specialize in making every step of the process easier for both new market entrants and long-time operators.


Regulatory Framework in Florida

To succeed in the cannabis industry in Florida, it's crucial to understand and comply with the regulations set by the state. The main authority responsible for overseeing these regulations is the Florida Department of Health. This department is in charge of creating and enforcing the rules that govern all medical marijuana activities within Florida.

The Florida Department of Health carries out its regulatory duties through a specialized office called the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU). The OMMU's main goal is to ensure that all medical marijuana-related actions follow state laws, including cultivation, processing, dispensing, and patient usage. By setting strict standards, the department aims to protect public health and safety while also promoting a legal market for medical marijuana.


Some key responsibilities of the Florida Department of Health include:

  • Granting licenses to Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs)

  • Performing inspections and audits

  • Enforcing compliance with state regulations

  • Offering assistance and guidance to businesses and patients


Types of Cannabis Licenses in Florida


Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) Licenses

At the core of Florida's cannabis industry are the Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) licenses. These licenses are comprehensive, allowing holders to handle every aspect of the medical cannabis supply chain, from growing and processing to transporting and selling. Unlike other states where separate licenses might be needed for each stage of operations, an MMTC license covers multiple areas.

  • What it allows: This license covers everything from growing and processing to transporting and selling medical marijuana. MMTCs are the main players in Florida's medical cannabis industry.

  • Vertical Integration: MMTCs are required to oversee every step of their product's journey, ensuring consistent quality control from start to finish.

  • Limited Availability: Due to a restricted number of licenses being issued and a rigorous application process, obtaining an MMTC license is extremely competitive. While this can pose a significant challenge for new entrants, it also presents a lucrative opportunity for those who succeed.

  • Strict Adherence to Regulations: License holders must strictly comply with all state regulations, which include detailed reporting obligations, robust security measures, and thorough product testing standards.


Cannabis Testing Laboratory

Cannabis Testing Laboratory licenses are critical for maintaining high standards of safety and quality within the industry. These labs conduct comprehensive tests to detect contaminants such as pesticides, heavy metals, and microbial impurities, ensuring that all products are safe for consumption. They also verify the potency and cannabinoid profiles of cannabis products, providing consumers with accurate information about what they are using.

Key Factors in Choosing a License Type

  • Aligning Your Business Model: It's important to choose a license type that matches up with what your business wants to do. For example, if you're focused on growing plants and making products, an MMTC license would be the best fit. But if your specialty is edibles, then getting an Edibles Food Establishment Permit should be your priority.

  • Understanding the Market: Paying attention to what customers want can give you an advantage. Right now, there's a big demand for edibles, which means there's money to be made if you can meet all the requirements for producing them safely.

  • Meeting the Rules: Each license comes with its own set of rules that you have to follow. Knowing what these are will help you with your application and make sure that you can stay in business for the long term.

  • Thinking About Money: Your budget will play a big role in which license you can get. If you have a lot of money to invest, then going for an MMTC license might be possible. But if funds are tight, focusing on edibles could be a more realistic option


Number of Cannabis Licenses

As of the posting of this market overview there are 650 dispensaries in Florida. To see an updated list of dispensaries click here. There are currently 22 license holders in Florida's cannabis market and once the new license holders from the application window in 2023 are announced there will be an additional 22 licenses.

Obtaining a Cannabis Business License in Florida

There are two primary methods for obtaining a cannabis business license in Florida: license application and acquisition.  As of the publishing of this Florida Cannabis Industry overview the Office of Medical Marijuana Use is not accepting any license applications so acquisition is the only method for market entry.  However, let's review the license application process for the next time the opportunity arises.


Securing a cannabis business license in Florida requires understanding the regulations and following the procedures precisely. The process for getting a Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) license, or any other license, involves several important stages.

License Application Fee: $146,000


Initial Preparation and Research

  • Identify the Appropriate License Type: Figure out which specific license is right for your business goals. 

  • Understand Legal Requirements: Learn about the legal requirements set by the Florida Department of Health. This includes rules on residency, background checks, and financial stability.

  • Market Analysis and Business Plan: Conduct thorough market research to understand competition and consumer demand. Create a detailed business plan that outlines how you will operate, your financial projections, and your plans for staying compliant with the law.


Application Process

  • Gather Required Documents: Collect all the necessary documents needed for the MMTC license application or any other medical marijuana business license you're applying for. This may include proof of financial stability, detailed business plans, security protocols, and background checks.

  • Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs): Create detailed SOPs that cover every aspect of your business operations, from how you will grow cannabis to how you will distribute it. These procedures must follow the state's guidelines to ensure compliance.

  • Submit Your Application: Once you have completed all the required forms and gathered all the necessary documents, submit your application along with the required fees during the designated application period. Make sure all the information provided is accurate and complete to avoid delays in processing.


Role of Professional Consultants

Professional consultants can provide valuable help throughout this complex process:

  • License Application Writers: These experts can assist you in effectively explaining your business model within the application framework, ensuring clarity and compliance.

  • Regulatory Consultants: These specialists stay updated on changing regulations and can guide you through potential issues that could harm your chances of getting approved. Using professional expertise not only improves your application but also increases your likelihood of obtaining a license efficiently.


Post-Application Steps

  • Pre-Licensing Inspection: If your application passes the initial review, expect a visit from state authorities who will inspect your premises to verify the information provided and assess your readiness to comply with regulations.

  • Approval and Issuance: After a successful inspection, the licensing authority will issue the medical marijuana business license or MMTC license, allowing you to start operating under strict regulatory supervision.

  • Obtaining Additional Permits: Depending on the nature of your business, you may need additional permits such as an Edibles Food Establishment Permit if you plan to produce cannabis-infused edibles.

Operating a Cannabis Business in Florida

From License to Launch: Opening a Successful Cannabis Business in Florida

Operating a cannabis business in Florida requires a meticulous approach to navigate the regulatory landscape and ensure long-term success. From securing the necessary licenses to implementing effective operational strategies, each step demands careful planning and execution.


Strategic Location Choices

Choosing the right location is crucial for any cannabis business to thrive, whether it's a cultivation facility or a dispensary. The cannabis industry has specific needs that require careful consideration of various factors:

  • Zoning Laws: Each city in Florida may have its own zoning laws that dictate where cannabis businesses can operate. Understanding these local regulations and ensuring compliance is essential to avoid legal issues.

  • Distance: Pursuant to Florida Statute FS 381.986, a medical marijuana treatment center dispensing facility may not be located within 500 feet of the real property that comprises a public or private elementary school, middle school, or secondary school unless the county or municipality approves the location through a formal proceeding open to the public at which the county or municipality determines that the location promotes the public health, safety, and general welfare of the community.

  • Accessibility: For dispensaries, being close to main roads and easily accessible to patients is extremely important. Locations near hospitals or medical centers tend to have more people passing by.

  • Environmental Conditions: Cultivation sites need specific environmental conditions like the right temperature, humidity, and light exposure. Areas with a consistent climate are preferable to minimize energy costs for controlling the environment.


Recommendations for Finding Suitable Properties

  • Get Help from Local Real Estate Experts: Working with professionals who know the local market well and understand cannabis zoning laws can make the property search process much smoother. Cann Strategy works with some of the best in the business and connect all of our clients with those relationships.

  • Visit Potential Sites in Person: Seeing properties firsthand will give you a better sense of whether they have the necessary infrastructure and security features for your business.

  • Plan for Future Growth: Anticipating expansion will ensure that the location you choose can support larger operations without needing to move elsewhere.

Ensuring Quality Control Through Specialized Equipment

Precision is key in the cannabis industry, which is why having specialized equipment for cultivation, extraction, and testing processes is so important. Quality control goes beyond meeting basic requirements; it helps build trust with consumers and sets a higher standard for the industry as a whole. Investing in advanced equipment not only improves the quality of your products but also establishes your business as an innovative and reliable leader. Strategic decisions about where to set up your business and what equipment to use are fundamental factors that will shape your success in Florida's growing cannabis market. 

  • Cultivation Equipment:

    • Grow Lights: High-intensity discharge (HID) lights or LED grow lights provide the necessary spectrum of light for optimal plant growth.

    • Climate Control Systems: HVAC systems designed specifically for plants help maintain the right temperature and humidity levels, which are crucial for preventing mold and mildew.

    • Automated Irrigation Systems: These systems ensure plants receive a consistent water supply, reducing the need for manual labor and improving overall plant health.

  • Extraction Equipment:

    • CO2 Extractors: These machines are preferred for their efficiency and safety in obtaining high-quality cannabis oil.

    • Ethanol Extractors: An alternative option that's cost-effective and can be scaled up for larger operations.

    • Butane Extractors: 

  • Testing Equipment:

    • Chromatographs (HPLC/GC): High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) or gas chromatography (GC) devices analyze cannabinoid content and detect any contaminants.

    • Mass Spectrometers: These devices provide precise measurements of pesticide residues and heavy metals in cannabis products.


Building a Strong Team

The backbone of a successful cannabis business in Florida is its team. A well-rounded staff equipped with comprehensive knowledge and experience in the cannabis industry not only ensures smooth operations but also maintains adherence to stringent regulatory requirements.

  • Compliance Officers: Specialists who stay abreast of evolving regulations, ensuring that every aspect of the operation adheres to state laws.

  • Cultivation Experts: Professionals with extensive experience in horticulture, particularly those skilled in cultivating cannabis under varying conditions.

  • Extraction Technicians: Individuals proficient in various extraction methods to produce high-quality cannabis concentrates.

  • Store Managers: Leaders who oversee daily operations, manage staff, and ensure the store runs smoothly and efficiently while adhering to all regulations.

  • Inventory Control Specialists: Experts responsible for managing inventory levels, tracking products, and ensuring accurate record-keeping to prevent discrepancies and maintain compliance.

  • Legal Advisors: Lawyers specializing in cannabis law to provide ongoing legal support, ensure regulatory compliance, and handle any legal issues that arise.

  • Budtenders with Sales Skills: Frontline staff who assist customers, provide product recommendations, and ensure a positive shopping experience while boosting sales through excellent customer service.

  • Marketing Teams: Personnel adept at navigating the unique challenges of promoting cannabis products within legal constraints.


Cannabis Banking and Recommended Financial Management Practices

Cannabis businesses face unique hurdles, particularly in banking and financial management. Federal restrictions often deter traditional banks from engaging with cannabis enterprises, creating significant obstacles for business owners.


Primary Challenges:

  • Limited Access to Banking Services: Many financial institutions are wary of offering services due to federal prohibitions, leading to reliance on cash transactions which pose security risks.

  • High Banking Fees: Institutions willing to work with cannabis businesses often impose exorbitant fees, impacting profitability.

Strategies to mitigate financial risks:

Treasury Management Services for Cannabis Businesses:

  • Leveraging specialized financial service providers that cater specifically to the cannabis sector can streamline operations.

  • Implementing robust cash management systems ensures secure handling and tracking of cash flow.


Innovative Financial Solutions:

  • Exploring credit unions and local banks open to working with cannabis businesses.

  • Utilizing fintech solutions designed for the cannabis industry to manage transactions electronically.

Unique Aspects of the Cannabis Business in Florida

Florida’s cannabis market presents several unique aspects that distinguish it from other states. These differences stem from the state’s regulatory framework and create both opportunities and challenges for cannabis businesses operating within its borders.

Unlimited Dispensary Expansion

Unlike many states where the number of dispensaries a company can own is capped, Florida allows Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) to open an unlimited number of dispensaries. This regulatory approach permits companies to expand their retail footprint extensively, provided they can supply their stores with sufficient cannabis and cannabis products. Consequently, several companies in Florida operate over 100 stores, with numerous others managing between 30 and 90 locations. This level of expansion is uncommon and contrasts sharply with states that restrict the number of dispensaries per license.

Vertical Integration and Self-Reliance

Florida's regulatory environment mandates that cannabis companies sell only the products they produce themselves. This requirement intensifies the need for businesses to develop robust internal operations, encompassing everything from cultivation and processing to branding and product quality. Unlike in states where dispensaries can source products from various growers and manufacturers, Florida’s cannabis businesses must ensure their product lines are comprehensive and of high quality to meet customer demands and maintain market share.

To thrive under this model, companies must:

  • Develop Strong Brands: Establishing and promoting a recognizable brand is crucial, as it helps attract and retain customers.

  • Engage in White Labeling Partnerships: Collaborating with other brands to white label products can diversify offerings and strengthen market presence.

  • Focus on Quality: Ensuring products are consistently high-quality is essential, as poor-quality products can drive customers to competitors.

Comprehensive Product Suites

Given that companies must supply all their stores with self-produced products, they cannot afford to specialize in just one type of product. Successful Florida cannabis businesses must offer a wide range of products, including flower, pre-rolls, vapes, extracts, and edibles. This diversity is necessary to cater to the varied preferences of customers and to ensure that every segment of the market is covered.

Intense Competition and Branding

The high number of dispensaries in Florida creates a fiercely competitive environment. Companies must differentiate themselves through superior branding, exceptional customer service, and high-quality products. Effective branding and marketing strategies are crucial to stand out in a crowded marketplace. Additionally, providing a superior customer experience can build loyalty and encourage repeat business.

Scaling for Survival

Scaling operations is vital for cannabis businesses in Florida. With the potential for extensive retail expansion, companies must continually increase their number of locations to build a strong presence across the state. This expansion helps establish brand recognition and attract customers based on name alone. Businesses that fail to scale effectively risk being overshadowed by competitors with more significant retail footprints.


Key Statistics:

  • Patient Growth: The number of registered patients is increasing quickly, showing strong demand.

  • Market Size: Experts think the market could be worth over $1.3 billion by 2024.

  • Dispensary Expansion: Big players are opening more and more dispensaries all across the state, with over 300 already operating.


Projected Growth Trends and Potential Challenges

The future of the Florida cannabis industry has a lot of potential but also some challenges that everyone involved needs to handle carefully.


Growth Trends:

  • Legislative Shifts: If recreational cannabis becomes legal, it could make the market grow even faster.

  • Technological Advancements: Using better technology for growing plants and analyzing data should improve product quality and make things run smoother.

  • Patient Accessibility: Making it easier for patients to get medical cannabis by offering online doctor visits and home delivery should bring in more customers.



  • Regulatory Hurdles: Following all the strict rules set by the state government is hard work and very important to avoid any legal issues.

  • Market Saturation: More and more companies are joining the industry, so there's a lot of competition. This means businesses need to find unique ways to stand out.

  • Banking Constraints: Banks regulated by the federal government can't offer their services to cannabis companies, which makes it difficult to handle money.


Differentiation Strategies for Standing Out in the Competitive Florida Market

In this competitive industry, it's important to always be coming up with new ideas and changing when needed. By using these strategies to succeed in the cannabis market, businesses can find their own special place in Florida's exciting medical marijuana industry. Being successful in the growing Florida medical marijuana market means businesses have to do things differently from their competitors. Here are some important things to focus on:


Brand Identity:

  • Creating a strong brand that connects with customers is very important. This includes having the same message all the time, making sure the products are good, and being open and honest with everyone.


Product Innovation:

  • Offering a wide range of products for patients to choose from, like edibles, oils, creams, and vape pens, can attract different types of customers.


Patient Education:

  • Teaching patients about the benefits and how to use medical cannabis properly helps them feel more loyal. Holding events, online seminars, and giving personal advice can make patients feel more involved.


Operational Excellence:

  • Making operations more efficient by using machines and following the best ways to grow and sell cannabis leads to better products and less money spent.


Community Engagement:

  • Taking an active role in community programs and supporting local projects shows that the business cares about the area and wants to give back.

Staying Updated on Regulatory Changes

The rules for cannabis businesses can change quickly, so it's important to stay alert:

  • Florida Department of Health (DOH): Regularly checking for updates on the DOH website gives important information about new rules or changes to existing laws.

  • Industry Associations: Joining groups like the Florida Medical Cannabis Association (FMCA) provides access to industry news, updates on regulations, and chances to connect with other professionals.

  • Professional Services: Getting help from lawyers who specialize in cannabis law can make it easier to understand complex rules. These experts can give timely advice on compliance problems and represent the business in legal issues.

  • Training Programs: Investing in ongoing education for employees makes sure they know about following rules correctly. Training programs can teach things like patient privacy laws, security steps, and ways to guarantee quality.


Florida Cannabis Consultants

Navigating the complexities of Florida's cannabis market requires expertise, strategic planning, and a thorough understanding of the state's unique regulatory environment. Cann Strategy stands out as the premier consulting firm for both existing cannabis businesses and those looking to enter the Florida market. With a proven track record of helping businesses thrive in competitive landscapes, our team offers tailored guidance and comprehensive support at every stage of your journey. From securing licenses and ensuring regulatory compliance to developing robust operational strategies and creating impactful brands, Cann Strategy provides the expertise and insights necessary for success. Partner with us to leverage our deep industry knowledge and strategic acumen, and confidently position your business for growth and sustainability in Florida’s dynamic cannabis market.

Unique Aspects of Florida Cannabis Business
Projected Growth & Challenges
Differentiation Strategies
Staying Updated on Regulations
Florida Cannabis Consultants

Book a free call with one of our consultants.

Contact us to discuss Florida cannabis business consulting services.

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