Florida’s MMJ Advocates Lean on Legislature

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It is not exactly a secret that medical marijuana proponents in Florida are going to continue their campaign for cannabis reform. Amendment 2 may have failed, but it still garnered 58 percent of the vote, making medical marijuana more popular than Florida’s re-elected Governor, Rick Scott.

Although 2016 offers promising prospects for medical marijuana, there is clearly a medical marijuana mandate and the state legislature plans on addressing the green elephant in the room this coming session.

In an interview with WESH 2 Orlando Democratic state Sen. Darren Soto expressed his belief that the legislature should act. “It’s better that we get ahead of this thing, and from the standpoint that it takes away a political issue for the 2016 election, there will be some pressure on the Legislature to act.”

Soto is not incorrect in his assumption that there would be a demand for the legislature to act. John Morgan, the main financier and spokesperson of the Amendment 2 campaign, has gone on the record stating his intentions of pressuring the legislation to pass cannabis reform ahead of 2016.

Even if lawmakers do act, there is an air of skepticism as to whether or not it the legislation will pass meaningful reform or just token appeasement. However, any move towards opening up Florida’s cannabis industry should be considered a positive one. With the lottery licensing system thrown out, companies in Florida will be clamoring to get a slice of the state’s marijuana pie.

Pete Sessa, CEO of the Florida Cannabis Coalition, spoke with the The Florida Times-Union about how, if anything, Amendment 2 has galvanized the serious entrepreneurs. “The next day [after the election], we started getting calls that said, ‘OK, I got an extra year to get ready,’” Sessa said. “All the people that were serious are sticking with it. All the people that wanted to open a dispensary or grow in their backyard or at a car wash are gone.”

If you were discouraged by Florida’s failure to pass medical marijuana, take heart; our allies in the Sunshine State are still hard at work, and they are not waiting for 2016. With an impressive mandate, the legislature will have to step up and expand upon Florida’s already existing medical marijuana law or else face the outrage of the 58 percent of Floridians who want meaningful cannabis reform.

With any luck the legislature will act, and Amendment 2’s failure will only be a bump in the road for your investment plans. Keep an eye of Florida this legislative session because they may just surprise you.

William Sumner, a freelance writer and marijuana journalist, was a staff writer for MJINews from May 2014 through February 2018. You can follow him on Twitter @W_Sumner.

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