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  • Writer's pictureOMNI Medical

Florida's Marijuana Legalization Vote Nears, But Will It Pass?

As Florida gears up for a crucial vote on marijuana legalization, recent polls suggest the outcome is still hanging in the balance.

According to a poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which opposes the legalization, 58% of likely voters support the initiative.

  • This falls short of the 60% needed for it to pass under the state constitution.

  • Market Size: Florida has one of the largest patient populations in the U.S. As of early 2021, there were over 500,000 registered medical marijuana patients in the state. The number has likely grown since then.

The campaign for legalization has faced considerable opposition, notably from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Chamber itself. Despite the opposition, the measure has seen significant support in past surveys, notably from a University of North Florida poll last November showing nearly 70% approval.

The economic implications are also substantial.

Estimates from the Florida legislature and the Governor's office suggest that legalization could generate between $195.6 million and $431.3 million in annual sales tax revenue. This could increase with additional excise taxes, mirroring other states where cannabis has been legalized.

Trulieve, a major player in Florida's medical cannabis industry and the primary financial supporter of the initiative, remains optimistic. CEO Kim Rivers cites internal polling that shows support closer to 70%. Despite public polls suggesting a tighter race, she emphasizes strong bipartisan support across the state.

Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed skepticism, suggesting that the initiative, if passed, could "reduce the quality of life" in Florida.

Florida's medical cannabis market is one of the largest and most rapidly growing in the United States.

Here are some key facts about it:

  • Legal Framework: Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida through Amendment 2, which passed during the November 2016 election with 71% of the vote. This amendment expanded the existing, more restrictive medical cannabis laws.

  • Qualifying Conditions: Florida law allows medical cannabis use for a variety of qualifying conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), chronic pain (as part of the same kind or class as the other listed conditions), PTSD, ALS, and other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class.

  • Regulatory Body: The Florida Department of Health's Office of Medical Marijuana Use (OMMU) regulates the state's medical marijuana program. This includes overseeing the licensing of medical marijuana treatment centers (MMTCs), which are vertically integrated businesses that cultivate, process, and dispense medical cannabis.

  • Vertical Integration Requirement: Unlike many other states, Florida requires a vertical integration model for its MMTCs. This means that each licensed MMTC must handle all aspects of the cannabis process from seed to sale, including cultivation, processing, and dispensing.

  • Product Forms: Florida allows several forms of medical cannabis, including oils, sprays, tinctures, edibles, and vape products. Smoking of cannabis was initially banned but was permitted following a court battle and subsequent legislation in 2019.

  • Telehealth: Florida permits the use of telehealth for the renewal of a patient’s medical cannabis certification, which was particularly significant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Economic Impact: The medical cannabis industry has significantly contributed to Florida's economy, creating thousands of jobs and generating substantial tax revenue. The state's market is expected to continue growing, particularly if recreational marijuana is legalized in the future.

  • Limited Licenses: The state has granted a relatively small number of MMTC licenses compared to the size of the patient population, leading to a highly competitive market dominated by a few large players like Trulieve, which holds a significant share of the market.

As November approaches, the stakes are high for both sides of the debate. Will Florida join the growing list of states embracing legalization, or will the opposition manage to sway public opinion against it? Only time will tell.

Stay protected and get or renew your medical cannabis card today!



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