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In November, voters in the Sunshine State will decide if Florida will become the 25th state to legalize adult-use cannabis. But what will Amendment 3 mean for cannabis in Florida and what hurdles has the legalization campaign faced? 

We covered all that and more in a Rootwurks webinar this week featuring Sally Kent Peebles, a Florida-based partner in the cannabis law firm Vicente LLP, and Lauren Niehaus, the Executive Director of Government Relations at Trulieve.

Here are some of the topics covered in the webinar:

A slim majority of voters won’t cut it

The legalization campaign is centered on Amendment 3, an amendment to the state constitution. In Florida, constitutional amendments require a supermajority of 60% to pass.

A survey released by Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research in April found that a 47 percent plurality of voters approve of the amendment. 

“It is a high threshold but we are looking forward to having Florida's support moving to this new addition because I do believe it's an addition, not a replacement for the medical marijuana marketplace in this great state,” Lauren Niehaus said. 

It won’t include home cannabis cultivation

Amendment 3 will allow adults 21 and over to purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use and it approves the founding of a regulated adult-use cannabis market. 

One thing it doesn’t do though, is allow home cultivation. 

South Florida may not be as pro-cannabis as you think

South Florida is often referred to as “the southernmost Northern state” and is home to all types of retirees, snowbirds, and new arrivals from states that are far less red than Florida. But that doesn’t mean legalization is a slam dunk in countries like Broward and Dade. 

During the webinar, Sally Kent Peebles spoke about her work on the failed United for Care effort to legalize medical cannabis in Florida in 2014 (medical was legalized in the state in 2016). The campaign failed in South Florida but won by a landslide in more conservative areas of northern Florida along the I-95 corridor. She chalked this up to a lot of “middle-class Republicans that are very religious down there,” but also the fact that “one of the issues is that I think they really thought that South Florida was in the bank so they didn’t focus a lot of their advertising dollars down there.”

The cannabis industry is throwing its weight behind legalization 

Trulieve alone has contributed almost $50 million to the Smart and Safe Florida legalization campaign, and five other cannabis companies have contributed $5.7 million. 

This is not only because of the potential windfall that legalization represents for the industry but also the fact that Florida is a difficult state to campaign in.

“In the state of Florida dollars do matter when it comes to running a campaign, especially in a presidential year. It’s not an inexpensive or small market. It’s a number of states inside of one state in terms of demographics and reach,” Niehaus said. 

Regulation is likely to be less rigid than elsewhere 

In legal cannabis states, regulation has ranged from highly strict and complicated to much more business-friendly. According to Sally Kent Peebles, the Florida model will probably see more of the latter approach. 

“Republicans by nature are anti-regulation. So I’m hoping if we do allow adult-use cannabis and Amendment 3 passes in November, that the legislature will choose to lightly regulate.”

The industry is going to be huge

The revenue potential for cannabis in the country’s third-largest state is hard to overstate. In the webinar, Kent Peebles stated that Florida’s medical marijuana program in 2023 brought in more sales than all the sales - recreational cannabis and medical - in Colorado and Arizona combined. 

She also cited forecasts that the adult-use market in Florida could eventually reach $4 billion in annual sales, which would mean $200 million or more in tax revenue for the state.  

But that’s just a small taste of what was discussed in the webinar. To get an inside look at the legalization campaign, stream the webinar on-demand here.



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Ben Hartman, Content Manager

Ben Hartman is a cannabis writing and marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in journalism and digital content creation. Ben was formerly the senior writer and research and analysis lead for The Cannigma.

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