Cannabis Edibles Are Coming to Florida
At long last, cannabis companies in Florida will be allowed to sell THC-infused edibles.
Four years after Sunshine State residents overwhelmingly voted in favor of legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Department of Health has approved the production and sale of cannabis-infused offerings such as baked goods and chocolates, among other items.
Late Wednesday night, the Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) “quietly” issued final rules that take effect immediately and will permit licensed cannabis companies to create and sell edibles after obtaining the proper permits.
However, there are several stipulations to the new law, including restrictions on the types of edibles that companies can create as well as the shapes and colors items can be.
Companies will not be permitted to formulate products with natural or artificial color additives, and the edibles cannot “contain or bear a reasonable resemblance to commercially available candy.”
Additionally, edibles cannot be “decorated with icing, sprinkles or other toppings,” and must be “produced in a manner to minimize color intensity and other color and visual characteristics attractive to children.”
In a post on LinkedIn, cannabis attorney David Feder questioned some of the language included in the rules, suggesting that cannabis firms could struggle to manufacture edibles that do not resemble commercial candies given how many different types of confections are currently distributed throughout the U.S.
Nevertheless, edibles manufacturers will be able to produce and sell infused lozenges, gelatins, baked goods, chocolates and drink powders, but they must obtain approval from the OMMU for each product they wish to create. They will also need to comply with certain packaging and labeling requirements, the rules state.
“Each variance request will be considered on a case-by-case basis,” the OMM noted.
According to the rules, single serving portions cannot exceed 10 mg of THC and multi-serving edibles cannot contain more than 200 mg of THC.
It’s worth noting that while rules for the production of edibles are now in effect, the OMMU has not yet approved any individual items to be sold at licensed dispensaries — known as Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) -- according to its website. CBS Miami reports that four companies -- Parallel, Curaleaf, VidaCann and Trulieve -- have received the green light to start producing edibles, however.
Regardless, the introduction of edibles is expected to boost revenue for Florida cannabis firms as marijuana users are increasingly looking for non-inhalable options.
Florida’s largest cannabis firm, Trulieve, said it prepared for the launch of edibles by building a 10,000 sq. ft. commercial kitchen for developing new offerings.
“We know the demand is there, as we have been hearing from our customers for some time now,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers said via a news release.
Rivers said she expects edibles will “contribute to a sizable share of overall sales,” adding that Trulieve is “well-positioned to meet the expect market demand.”
“We are glad to finally be able to offer edibles as yet another option for medical cannabis patients across Florida,” she said.
Trulieve recently opened its 57th Florida dispensary, and earlier this month report second quarter revenue of $120.8 million.
For her part, Parallel Florida president Liz Conway called the introduction of edibles "very significant, both for our consumers and our business."
"Florida's cannabis patients have been waiting for the arrival of edibles, not only for dosing convenience, but for the extended relief that comes with ingesting medical cannabis," she said via a news release. "Our teams are so excited to meet demand in our Surterra Wellness stores statewide as soon as our proposed products achieve FDOH approval."
Meanwhile, Curaleaf CEO Joseph Lusardi cheered the news on Twitter, writing that he was “very happy” to see the final rules, and that his company was “looking forward to bringing new products to Florida patients.”
Curaleaf, now the largest U.S. cannabis firm following its acquisition of GR Companies, expects to have 39 dispensaries operating in Florida before the end of the year. It currently has 32 dispensing locations and is the third largest player in Florida, behind Trulieve with 57 and Parallel (formerly Surterra Wellness) with 39.
Other major players in Florida include Liberty Health Sciences, with 26 dispensaries, AltMed Florida, with 25 locations, and Fluent, with 21 locations, according to OMMU records.
Columbia Care (13), MedMen (10), Harvest (6) and Green Thumb Industries (6) also operate in the state.
As of August 21, 2020, there were 399,253 qualified medical marijuana patients in Florida and 2,573 qualified physicians, according to the OMMU.