Recreational cannabis in Florida

Florida is one of 15 states that allow medical marijuana but not recreational cannabis sales. In total, 19 states and DC allow for adult recreational use of cannabis, with more in the process of enacting legislation. If a 60% supermajority of voters approves in November 2024, Florida can join them in recreational sales.

The Recreational Cannabis Corporate Backer

Trulieve is bankrolling the effort by contributing 38,500,124.58 to Smart and Safe Florida to get recreational cannabis approved on the 2024 ballot. Smart and Safe Florida PAC is sponsoring the recreational marijuana amendment. They received over three times the 222,000 signatures required to have the state supreme court review it. Trulieve is Florida’s largest leading, vertically integrated cannabis company and multi-state operator listed on the market under the symbol TRUL. They trade on the OTCQX market under the symbol TCNNF.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers states:

“It’s all about improving access. We came into this with a mission to provide access to high-quality products that are safe and have an appropriate value proposition to give folks control over their – in the original days – medical journey. I don’t think that changes here. I mean, in effect we are at our core about expanding the opportunity for access to safe legal product, which is what this would allow us to continue to do.”

Previous proposals by Make it Legal Florida and Regulate Florida failed in the past due to misleading language and not enough signatures gathered, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the courts approve of the petition, 891,000 signatures would be required to bring it to the voters in 2024.

A poll published by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) found that 70% of respondents supported the measure, either “strongly” or “somewhat.” One potential concern for medical marijuana patients is that the demand for recreational marijuana could strain the supply of medical cannabis products. To address this issue, some other states that have gone recreational take measures to ensure that medical marijuana patients continue to have access to their prescribed medication.

Recreational Proposal Opponents

Not all favor the proposal and Attorney General Ashley Moody opposes the bill to be put on the ballot and stated that she “believes the proposed amendment fails to meet requirements of Florida Statute and will present additional argument through briefing at the appropriate time.

The AG requested the Florida Supreme Court’s Opinion on the validity of the proposed amendment and if it meets the technical requirements of the Florida Constitution and complies with Florida Statute 101.161(1).

The Proposal

The “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana” proposal would allow adults 21 or older “to possess, purchase or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for nonmedical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion or otherwise.” The initiative would allow individuals to possess up to three ounces of marijuana (about 85 grams), with up to five grams in the form of concentrate.

Trulieve Spokesman Steven Vancore feels that the amendment meets Florida’s sufficiency laws and hopes the court agrees to allow it to be voted on in November 2023.

The Bottom Line

This proposal was developed to leave out “Home Grow”, the right for adults to grow a selected amount of cannabis plants. The only reason to leave Home Grow out is to keep the lobbying dispensaries in complete control and increase profit. With political influence and a lot of money changing hands, the large corporations are destined to be the real benefactors with the specific amendment language—not the average adult consumer. Recreational cannabis can be incorporated into the state properly and will certainly come to Florida soon; however, a rush to accept a bill aimed to prioritize the corporations over the population is likely not in the people’s best interest.

With Trulieve’s money and influence the required signatures can be acquired; however, we are skeptical if this is the right bill for Florida to finally go recreational.