ORLANDO, Fla. — Marijuana use is at an all-time high in Florida, when it comes to use as medicine; as the number of patients keeps rising, counting 688,672, as of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use’s (OMMU) most recent report March 4.

Because of this, companies are quick to open more dispensaries across the region.

What You Need To Know

  • The medical marijuana industry keeps growing, the number of dispensaries and patients increasing

  • The medical marijuana industry keeps growing, the number of dispensaries and patients increasing

  • The Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) will also likely see slightly increased funding, to keep up with the fast pace

  • OMMU reports 688,672 qualified users as of its March 4 update, and 407 licensed dispensaries

‘Sanctuary Medicinals’ recently opened its sixth dispensary in Florida, this time in Dunedin. There’s even more to come, too. That’s what Director of Operation Nick Satmary tells Spectrum News 13. 

At an unspecified Central Florida location, he watches as workers carefully grow, care for, and process the plants that will become medicine for his many clients.

It’s all under strict lock and key; Satmary says there’s still much cannabis regulation his company must adhere to, in order to do business in the state.

“I’ve had people cry to me about how much our product has helped,” he remarks on why he feels it’s all worth even “strict” regulation. His personal passion for cannabis began some 12 years ago.

“My grandmother was terminally ill with cancer,” Satmary recalls, “and my mother asked me, who [was] totally against cannabis… she asked me if I could get her some cannabis brownies to help her. It really did help her,” he claims.

According to the OMMU, there are 407 dispensing locations now open across Florida; Sanctuary Medicinals now accounts for six of them.

Another company, ‘Medmen,’ accounts for seven; the growing company recently sold its license for a multi-million-dollar profit to another budding cannabis provider.

District Manager Jenny Bowen is proud of the work that’s happening. She uses medical marijuana for arthritis pain, insomnia, and more. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, Bowen says, when it comes to reasons her customers use the cannabis products.

“Demand is definitely there, and product assortment demand is there. So, that’s really important,” she asserts. She stays busy stocking the store shelves.

While it appears the OMMU is growing to keep up with the rising demand and booming business, the latest state budget draft shows just a slight increase in the allocated funds lawmakers are negotiating.

This year, the Office is listed on the budget conference document as a $4,442,885 cost; last year, it received $4,442,239.

That funding, set to cover OMMU information technology, a ‘Seed-To-Sale’ tracking system, technology upgrades to the Medical Marijuana use Registry and the Compliance, Licensure, Enforcement, and Regulatory (CLEAR) system.