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How To Open A Dispensary In Florida

by Maxime Kot September 26, 2017

Update: The medical marijuana program in Florida has since been delayed with various lawsuits and the editing of regulations for patients and growers. In March 2018, Florida lawmakers voted to withhold $1.9 million in salaries and benefits from the Department of Health until officials manage to get the program running efficiently. Those who wish to get involved in Florida's medical marijuana market should use this time to better prepare for when the state makes applications available again for medical marijuana business licenses. 

Florida Program Overview

Florida Gov. Rick Scott signed a limited medical marijuana bill into law on June 16, 2014. SB 1030 also known as The Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act- protects qualifying patients suffering from a very limited amount of disorders from the use and possession of CBD. The law authorized for a limited amount of Medical Marijuana Treatment Center (MMTC) and the state awarded seven organizations to grow, process and dispense the low-THC marijuana.

In November 2016, Florida passed Amendment 2 legalizing medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by licensed Florida physician. In June 2017, Gov. Rick Scott signed SB 8A into law, to ensure the Florida government will meet the deadlines outlined by Amendment 2 in order to have regulations drafted by July 3, 2017 and implemented by October 3, 2017.

The bill includes 10 new licensed MMTC in the state in addition to the seven that already exists and another four MMTC licenses to be issued for every 100,000 patients added to the state’s medical marijuana registry. Each MMTC will be allowed to grow, process, transport and sell medical marijuana. One MMTC license will also allow the licensee to establish up to 25 dispensaries.

The Department of Health (Department) has been tasked to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program and has filed the new rules for adoption with the Department Agency Clerk and is effective as of July 3, 2017.

Important Documents (Laws and Rules):

Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC):

SB 8A allows for the issuance of up to 10 new MMTC licenses. Five of the new licenses will be awarded to entities that applied during the initial 2014 round of applications (for the CBD program) while the remaining 5 licenses will be awarded to new applicants and will be issued by October 3, 2017. MMTC applicants must demonstrate at a minimum:

  1. The applicant has been registered to do business in Florida for 5 consecutive years prior to submission of the application.
  2. Possession of a valid nursery certificate of registration issued by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
  3. The technical and technological ability to cultivate and produce marijuana, including, but not limited to, low-THC cannabis.
  4. The ability to secure the premises, resources, and personnel necessary to operate as a medical marijuana treatment center.
  5. The ability to maintain accountability of all raw materials, finished products, and any byproducts to prevent diversion or unlawful access to or possession of these substances.
  6. An infrastructure reasonably located to dispense marijuana to registered qualified patients statewide or regionally as determined by the department.
  7. The financial ability to maintain operations for the duration of the two-year approval cycle, including the provision of certified financial statements to the department.
  8. That all owners, officers, board members, and managers have passed a level 2 background screening.
  9. The employment of a medical director to supervise the activities of the MMTC.
  10. A diversity plan that promotes and ensures the involvement of minority persons and minority business enterprises, as defined in s. 288.703, Fla. Stat., or veteran business enterprises, as defined in s. 295.187, Fla. Stat., in ownership, management, and employment.

Within 10 days of licensure, successful applicants must post a $5 million performance bond issued by an authorized surety insurance company rated in one of the three highest rating categories by a nationally recognized rating service or provide an irrevocable letter of credit payable to the Department or provide cash to the Department.

Program Timeline:

June 16, 2014 – SB 1030 (CBD Program) signed into law

November 2016 – Amendment 2 (Medical Marijuana Program) passed

June 2017 – SB 8A signed into law (to ensure regulations for Amendment 2 be drafted by July 3, 2017 and implemented by October 3, 2017)

July 2017 – Department filed new rules to be adopted and rules enacted

Before October 2017 – Department to award new MMTC licenses


How To Open A Dispensary In Florida

The Downloadable Florida Medical Marijuana Business Plan Application Package includes plan templates needed for the Florida MMTC Application.

Please Note: All of the plans are vertically integrated and not specific to any geographic region. You will be responsible for customizing the template plans to fit your market, business and state laws.

Get Application Package


The Florida Medical Marijuana Business Plan Application Template Package includes: