Recreational marijuana is officially legal in California. Is Florida next?
California, including seven other states and Washington DC has legalized weed. It has emerged as the largest market for legal marijuana in US and is believed to be a major source of tax revenue each year and the volume maybe billions of dollars.
Following the footsteps of California, Massachusetts, Rhodes Island, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and Delaware could also join the bandwagon of legalizing recreational marijuana use. This brings up a question; will Florida be doing the same? Co-founder of Florida Cannabis Coalition, Pete Sessa thinks things are moving very fast. He is working as an advocate with Regulate Florida, a group that is attempting to get a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize recreational use of marijuana on state ballot.
According to Sessa, marijuana being legalized back in 2016 by 71 per cent votes in Florida, will give this new move the kind of backing it needs and California has surely made it obvious that it is possible. If this became a reality, sale of up to one ounce of marijuana to adults 21 and older will become possible. Regulate Florida plans to set a regulatory framework as well, to let adults to grow up to six flowering plants per household provided, it is done in locked, indoor greenhouses and the produce is not sold later.
According to polls, public is has shown more favorable inclination toward outright legalization. According to 2016 Quinnipiac poll, 56% Floridian voters are in favor of legalized use and possession of marijuana for adults. And nation wise speaking, Americans’ support for the legalization has shot up from less than 20% to 50% in merely 20 years. And the trend is showing an upward trend.
However, according to Sessa, something even stronger is fuelling the momentum. “Once business starting taking an interest in cannabis you saw a lot more money pump into activism in order to be able to make these things happen,” he said. Recent study showed that the legalization would bring in $5 billion in California alone. Nevada earned $3 million in sales and $500,000 in tax revenue in the first four days of legal sale last week.
Sessa is quite hopeful about Florida seeing the same business prospects in 2020 once recreational use of marijuana becomes legal here as well. Looking at the past statistics where, any successful balloting needs more than 750,000 petition signatures, and 60 per cent support of voters, medical marijuana legalization gives high opens to the Co-founder of Florida Cannabis Coalition.
Marijuana advocates, however could face more challenges than they are facing right now. Recently, a lawsuit was filed against the state ban on smoking cannabis for medical treatment. According to common perception, Florida have to get smoking cannabis legalized before they can get full legalization of marijuana that will eventually include using marijuana for recreational purposes. This process may take time but once it is done, Florida may welcome a hefty volume of sales as well as tax revenue just like California. It may curb the underground dealings and get the cash flow become mainstream. Let us just keep our fingers crossed!