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Community-level factors associated with medical marijuana prescriber authorizations in Florida

Amie Goodin
University of Florida

Objective: Florida expanded access to medical marijuana in 2017, where change in state law permitted the purchase and use of medical marijuana as treatment or adjuvant therapy for a series of qualifying conditions. Medical marijuana is required to be purchased through a licensed medical marijuana treatment center (MMTC) dispensary under certified order from an authorized physician. The purpose of this study was to map MMTC and authorized physician location concentration by geographic area, and compare concentration of medical marijuana service availability by community characteristics.

Methods: MMTC and authorized physician lists were downloaded from Florida Department of Health’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) public database. Location data (zip code and county) were used to map MMTC and physician concentrations using Tableau software. MMTC and physician counts were adjusted per 100,000 residents per county. Medical marijuana orders were then mapped per county adjusted for 100,000 population.

Results: A total of 2,274 authorized medical marijuana physicians and 239 MMTCs had valid location data for 2017. Walton County had the most concentrated number of medical marijuana orders (2941 per 100,000 residents), followed by a zip code within Pinellas County [Tampa area] (1379 orders/100,000 residents), and a zip code within Collier County [Naples area] (133 orders/100,000 residents). Three zip codes within Broward County [Fort Lauderdale area] each had the highest concentration of MMTCs (562MMTCs/100k residents; 351MMTCs/100k residents; 226MMTCs/100k residents).

Conclusion: Medical marijuana authorized physicians and MMTCs are concentrated in distinct regions throughout Florida. Orders for medical marijuana in Florida were more concentrated in northern and central Florida regions, while MMTCs were more concentrated in southern urban regions.

Co-authors: Yun Shen1, Joshua Brown1
1University of Florida

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