Florida lawmakers will likely have no choice but to expand the number of cannabis producers it currently has in place to service the low-THC sector to take on the 500,000 patients expected to take part in the state’s newfound medical marijuana program, which passed in November.
According to a report from Action News Jax, the Senate Health Policy Committee began hearing testimony on Tuesday from a barrage of marijuana enthusiasts and opponents in hopes of formulating the best plan of attack for implementing the medical marijuana program that was made legal with the passing of Amendment 2.
It seems lawmakers somehow believe it is possible to simply put the whole of the state’s cannabis production in the hands of the six pot manufactures presently in place to grow and sell a non-intoxicating strain known as Charlottes Web.
However, United for Care’s campaign manager, Ben Pollara, told the Senate panel that there was no way in hell the current regulatory framework could service patients by the hundreds of thousands, and that the language of the initiative, which was approved by more than 70 percent of the voters, requires state health officials to put “reasonable” regulations into place with respect to the new medicinal cannabis program.
“It is more than a fair assessment to say that a vote for Amendment 2 was a vote to expand the market here,” Pollara said.
Some of the cannabis operations the state already has licensed to serve the low-THC sector told the Senate panel that there was no need to expand the current regulatory model because they would soon be well equipped to take on the number of patients expected to participate in the program.
In addition to matters concerning how marijuana is going to be grown and sold throughout the state, a number of law enforcement agencies and anti-marijuana advocates took some time to try and convince the Senate panel to take certain aspects of the new marijuana law into consideration when drumming up the final regulatory affairs – like not allowing pot candies to be sold.
“If we don’t aggressively seek to limit the use and sale of marijuana, our country and state as we know it will never be the same,” said Teresa Miller, creator of the “No2Pot” website. “Florida will be trading our beautiful white, sandy beaches filled with vacationing families for a hazy, skunk-smelling coastline laden with unemployable, unmotivated homeless people.”
It is unlikely that Florida’s new medical marijuana program will lead to an increase in homelessness. After all, a report published last week predicts the state’s medical marijuana market will generate more than $1 billion in sales within the next three years – potentially creating tens of thousands of new jobs.