24 Feb Floridian’s Smoking Legal Pot: It’s Economic Effect
Florida’s cannabis industry has certainly been a slow-moving vehicle. As an activist here in Florida, I admit I feel jaded at times as far as our progress is concerned. However, although our industry here in Florida has its issues, we have made quite a bit of economic impact by moving in “baby steps”. Before looking at the economic impact the Florida cannabis industry has made, let’s look at a few baby steps we took to get this far, then let’s analyze the impact these steps have made on our economic situation.
The Florida Cannabis Movement
Many people think, when a state legalizes cannabis, then money start rolling in. That there is some kind of economic explosion that happens where all this tax revenue and job are created out of thin air.
Not if you live in a state like Florida!
I don’t want to get to far into party politics, but Florida is what you would call a purple state. All I mean by that is, there are an equal number of socially conservative people than there are socially liberal people. For every cannabis activist in Florida there is another activist that is clinging to cannabis’ social stigmas.
The result of that, as far as the cannabis industry is concerned, is a slow approach towards progress. Florida actually took its first steps toward legalizing medical cannabis in 2014. It has been a slow moving vehicle ever since.
The Start of Legal Cannabis in Florida
Back in 2014 CBD cannabis was legalized by the Florida legislature, and this is technically the start of it all! “Actual cannabis” wasn’t legalized until 2016 with the passage of “Amendment 2”, which legalized medical marijuana in the Florida Constitution.
Floridians Legalize all Medical Cannabis
You would think this is when things really start to “pick up”….
But that’s not true! Although the Florida population voted, by about 72%, to put cannabis as a legal medicine in the Florida constitution, our legislature and regulators of the industry remained slow moving.
Florida Lifts the Ban on Smoking
That’s when things really started to “pick up”. It took the regulators of Florida cannabis about 3 years to legalize smokable flower. In 2019, for the first time, Florida cannabis patients were able purchase dried smokable flower, and demand for cannabis skyrocketed in the state. As a Florida cannabis patient myself, it is a regular experience to walk into a dispensary and find that they are sold out of flower.
The Economic Effect of Floridians Smoking Cannabis
According to Leafly, 15,498 Floridians worked in the cannabis industry in 2019. Florida was only behind the “big named” cannabis states who participated in both the medical and adult use markets: California, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Approximately a third of those jobs, about 5 thousand, were created in 2019. The year that smokable flower was created. That means that demand for smokable cannabis increased cannabis jobs by a third in 2019!
The Florida cannabis industry grew by 93% in 2019 with a total market value at almost $800 million. Florida also has one of the largest collections of medical marijuana patients in the country, about 300 million. This could be attributed to the introduction of smokable flower to the market. Florida dispensaries have sold about 21,000 ounces of flower since it became legal.
Florida still hasn’t introduced edible cannabis products… imagine how many jobs that could create.