A new report shows the legal cannabis marketplace in Florida continues growing despite early struggles as two companies in the public space have increased their presence in the state.

The Miami Herald reported on Friday (June 1) the Florida medical cannabis market has grown to show 91,000 patients buying 56 pounds of legal product during a week.

Karen Goldstein, head of the Florida chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), leveled with the Herald regarding the progress seen in the state’s legislature on cannabis, but said that the overall increase should have been accomplished sooner.

“The amendment was so clear — medical marijuana is legal — but the Legislature has muddied the water so much by creating regulations out of thin air,” she said.

The Florida Department of Health issued an update on May 25 to announce it had passed the 100,000 patient mark, by reaching 114,878 registered patients for medical cannabis in the state, accounting for 5,400 registered patients per week according to the Herald.

Despite the bumps in the road the state has seen so far as to the development of its medical cannabis market, public companies in the space have targeted the area as a direct goal of business.

Operations from two public market players with assets in Florida

Two of the most significant dispensary and production operators in the state, raising capital through the public markets as well, are iAnthus Capital Holdings (CSE:IAN) and Liberty Health Sciences (CSE:LHS).

iAnthus expanded its reach in Florida with the acquisition of the assets from GrowHealthy Holdings for US$17.5 million in cash and US$30.5 million worth of common shares. In March the company announced GrowHealthy would now offer delivery to cannabis orders from patients in the state.

As part of its first-quarter financial update for 2018, the company reported US$3.2 million in revenue accompanied by a $0.01 loss per share during the quarter.

During the quarter the company signed multiple lease deals for the location of retail shops, adding 13,500 square feet of dispensary space.

The company’s endeavors have received boosts thanks to two separate capital infusions. The first a private placement raised to be C$20 million and an investment deal worth US$50 million from Gotham Green Partners, a private equity firm focused on the cannabis space.

Jason Adler, Managing Member of GGP, credited iAnthus’ early mover status and its assets in New York and Florida as some of the reasons the firm decided to invest.

After clearing up the status of its relationship with Canadian licensed producer (LP) Aphria (TSX:APH), Liberty Health has been expanding its efforts in the state of Florida. The company announced deals to incorporate various brands like Solei Cannabis, MC Brands and products of Isodiol International (TSXV:CSE).

This year Liberty Health has opened new cannabis dispensary locations in Tampa, Port St. Lucie, St. Petersburg and has completed the acquisition of a 200,000 square feet of greenhouse and processing facility in Gainesville.

“With this acquisition we’re accelerating our aggressive growth strategy to more quickly meet the increasing demand for high-quality medical cannabis in Florida,” George Scorsis, director and CEO of Liberty Health said.

Investor takeaway

Investors have a number of options to gain exposure in the various US markets. The legal cannabis states have different needs and offer separate strategies.

The bulk of the US multi-state operators for investors to explore can be found on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE), a market enjoying a rush from the newfound interest in these stocks.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates! Stay tuned to our cannabis channel for more stories from Lift.

Securities Disclosure: I, Bryan Mc Govern, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: Isodiol International is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.

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