While Hurricane Irma just finished gnawing on the Florida peninsula like an old shoe, the wicked storm, which has left millions of people across the state without power and contributed to nearly 30 deaths, did not put a dent in the state’s newfound medical marijuana market.
A report from the Miami Herald indicates that, despite the immense destruction that rode in on the back of the beast named Irma, the state’s multimillion-dollar medical marijuana industry remains mostly intact.
Several of the state’s 12 licensed marijuana growers and distributors have confirmed that the medical marijuana supply did not perish as a result of the high winds and flooding that came with the storm.
“Minor flooding, a missing roof, but all plants are safe!” Surterra Wellness, arguably one of the largest marijuana producers in the state, said in a Twitter post on Wednesday.
There were some obvious concerns, early on, that the medical marijuana industry could be shutdown if a major hurricane, such as Irma, hammered down on the entire state with ferocity. In addition to potential threats to production facilities and the overall supply, a major storm could also put patients at risk of not being able to get their hands on medicine.
Although the industry prepared for the worst, it seems that the state’s 36,000 registered patients will not have to go without medical marijuana while their communities work to put themselves back together.
This is good news considering that an estimated 500,000 patients are eligible for the program.
Although some of the state’s production centers suffered minor damage, all of the distribution and retail aspects of the trade are still fully operational.
“We were thankfully spared the worst of the storm and have fared well considering the plight of others,” Flor Santiesteban, a spokesman for Modern Health Concepts, told the Miami Herald. “Our cultivation and processing facilities are up and running with backup power at the moment, and we resumed filling patient orders yesterday.”
A handful of medical marijuana operations, including Miami’s Trulieve, were forced to suspend their delivery services due to the storm, but most of them are now back in action. Others plan to resume deliveries early next week.
Some of the latest statistics show that Florida’s medical marijuana market could be worth $1 billion by 2020. That is as long as the threat of future hurricanes does not frighten off the industry’s key demographic—senior citizens—who are reportedly starting to reconsider the Sunshine State as a prime retirement destination.