As many as 212,000 medical marijuana patients are registered in the State of Florida. It is one of the biggest markets in the U.S. and it could have even more explosive growth if patients could have help in covering the cost of cannabis. Those in most need for medical marijuana treatment could see their bills soar well into the thousands to get the pain relief that they need. And unfortunately, because CBD is still a Schedule I drug and insurers require FDA approval, there’s not a lot of movement on the issue.
The potential is easy to see as in its most recent earnings, Trulieve Cannabis Corp (CSE:TRUL) reported annual sales of more than $100 million. And with The Company recently opening its 27th dispensary in Florida, it’s going to reach even more customers as it continues to expand throughout the State. Florida is well-known for its high population of seniors and is going to be a key market for the industry going forward. But without help from health insurance companies, it’s not going to be possible for the potential in the market to be reached until that happens since costs may prove to be too burdensome.
Significant Growth Opportunities in the Market if Coverage Is Made Available
As researchers learn more about medical marijuana and what it can effectively treat, that will help open up more doors for cannabis and could generate even more growth over the years. And that’s why it’s important for health insurance providers in the State to offer coverage for cannabis, as the demand is clearly there. The problem is that affordability is a big issue for patients wanting to get access to cannabis.
The reality is so many of these patients who qualify for medical cannabis are actually poor. They are disabled in some way. They can’t work and are on a fixed income
– Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando (D)
Ultimately, it is up to private insurers to decide whether or not to include medical marijuana in their coverage and right now it simply isn’t happening. However, lobbyists are certainly trying to push the issue and encourage companies to offer coverage.
Our constitution recognizes that marijuana is medicine, and if it is in our constitution then companies that provide health insurance to Florida patients should be covering it
– Nikki Fried, Agriculture Commissioner
Federal Laws Are Creating Obstacles for the Industry
The predicament in Florida is just another example of how problematic federal laws are on individual States. Just like we’ve seen with the big banks, insurers also don’t want to run afoul with lawmakers and offering coverage that could get them in trouble, even if it’s just out of the fear that it could be a possibility. Hopefully, if the STATES act does end up passing then it could encourage insurance providers to be more willing to offer coverage for medical marijuana. Once one company jumps on board, it’ll be harder for others to stay in the sidelines, especially if it results in the first-movers gaining more customers, which is likely to be the case.