The cost of Medical Marijuana in Florida is proving to be prohibitive
Bottom Line: Within the first six months of the medical marijuana industry gaining legitimacy (July 1st of 2017) in Florida we’d reached about 50,000 users. By the end of April this year that number doubled to more than 100,000 regular users of the product. Competition for opening dispensaries ramped up and the advertising across the state did too. Generally, you’d expect the growth of users to ramp up along with greater knowledge and access to the product but we’re actually seeing a slowdown in the growth in Florida. Most recently there were just under 150,000 registered users despite greater access and advertising, so what’s going on?
It’s possible that those who’ve been desirous of using the product is smaller than many estimates had projected and the fast adaptation was a product of those people obtaining the product as soon as they were able. It’s also possible that many more people who will seek the product don’t have doctors or dispensaries readily available in their community yet but there’s another story that’s developing that’s not being widely reported. The cost.
The average cost for a medical marijuana user in Florida is $625 per month or $7,500 per year. That cost is also independent of the fees for the medical service providers who make the recommendations which is averaging about $700 per year. That puts the per person cost at over $8,000 per year. Calculating the estimated cost of medication used to combat persistent pain problems, Americans appear to have been averaging around $3,500 annually (combination of prescribed & OTC drugs). It’s likely that many would have sticker shock if the cost of their pain regimen more than doubled. It’s possible that costs will come down as the industry matures and it’s likely that there would be improved efficiencies for the industry if it’s eventually legalized or at least decriminalized federally but for now there’s a long way to go and it’s anything but a cheap way of coping with pain.