Florida business of pot in state discussions

By Mike Vasilinda, Reporter, Capitol News Service
Published On: Jul 08 2014 04:22:08 PM EDT
Updated On: Jul 08 2014 04:22:48 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Marijuana went on sale Tuesday in Washington state as it became the second state to legalize recreational marijuana.

Colorado opened store-fronts selling pot in January. Now in Florida, the business of pot was front and center at a hearing this week on how the state will regulate a very narrow kind of non-high-producing marijuana.

While Florida isn’t talking about full legalization, a recent poll shows the medical marijuana amendment is being supported by seven out of 10 likely voters. It will need 60 percent approval by voters to pass.

Idaho Springs, Colorado, has a population of just over 1,700. People come from miles around to buy legal and medical marijuana. Brian Vicente, who organized the push for legalizations, said it has been good for Colorado.

"We've produced almost 10,000 news jobs in this field," Vicente said. "We’ve produced, you know, tens of millions of dollars of tax revenue every year."

And judging from the attendance at a workshop developing rules for the sale of low-THC marijuana, there is money to be made.

More than 40 growers from across Florida are interested in just five licenses to grow marijuana. The initial setup -- about $2 million.

The growers applying for licenses are looking past low-dose THC. They’re hoping voters will approve Amendment 2.

The number of people who could be prescribed low-dose THC could be 50,000, and it could grow to more than 1 million if the full medical marijuana amendment becomes law.

One high profile lobbyist has already formed the The Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida (MMBAF).

In Colorado, many pot shops are members of national business lobby groups -- all evidence the business of pot is moving from the street corner to the board room.

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