It’s been a tough ride for medical marijuana users in Florida, where 71 percent of voters approved legislation to make therapeutic cannabis legal back in 2016. Smokable cannabis became the source of major political strife, and only now does it looks like edibles may soon become available to patients. The state’s first and biggest medical marijuana provider Trulieve announced on Wednesday that it’s signed a contract with an out-of-state company to supply Floridians with cannabis-laced snacks.
As of now, it looks like the firm will link up with Colorado’s Binske to make the two-year-old company’s catalogue available to Florida patients. Currently included in Binske’s repertoire are chocolate bars, honey, granola, pâte de fruit, fruit leather, and olive oil. The company also sells concentrates, topical, and cultivars– all emblazoned with its signature intricately drawn labels.
But don’t count your brownies before they bake. The Miami Herald reports that the deal has yet to be approved by Florida’s Office of Medicinal Marijuana Use, a process that currently has no timeline or estimated date of decision. The Department of Health has lagged on regulating edibles in the state, though they are technically legal.
Medical marijuana was approved by Floridian legislators back in 2014, but has experienced a plethora of legal and administrative holdups that haven’t been fully addressed by the initiative that was approved in 2016. The question of legalization played a key role in last year’s highly contested elections for the governor’s office. A 2018 poll showed that now over 60 percent of the state’s voters would be open to a law legalizing recreational cannabis, as well.
Currently, Trulieve operates 23 of the 83 medical dispensaries located across the state and 60 home delivery vehicles, accounting for more than two-thirds of the total marijuana sales in Florida, according to the Department of Health.
After voters approved the medical cannabis legislation in 2016, Tallahassee’s Truelieve became the first company to deliver medicinal herb in the state. A Hudson, Florida, dystonia patient was the first recipient of low-THC cannabis on that occasion.
According to the Herald, Nicole “Nikki” Fried, the agriculture commissioner-elect, said her team is “ready to implement edibles rules.” A former lobbyist for medical marijuana, Fried told the paper, “As the number of medical marijuana patients in Florida rises, we look forward to helping bring diverse products to provide our patients with the medicine they need.”
“The market in Florida is on the cusp of exploding,” said Jacob Pasternack, Binske’s CEO. “We are here to help light the fuse.”
Trulieve has had success in the past with out-of-state partnerships. Last fall, it teamed with California’s Bhang Chocolate. Kim Rivers, Trulieve’s CEO, said she had high hopes for the new working arrangement with Binske.
“When we look for partnerships, our focus is on bringing products to patients that provide relief in a safe, reliable manner,” Rivers said. “Binske shares Trulieve’s dedication to the patients first, focused on creating products that are high quality, consistent, and effective.”