Amendment Two Failed and So Did Florida
In a state with declining revenues and a grim economic outlook the proposed amendment two that was potentially a billion dollar industry fell short with only 57% of voters approving it. Despite early polls in July, showing more than 80% approval for medical marijuana, unfortunately most of that support seems to have vanished on Tuesday Night.
In contrast several other states opted to legalize medical or recreational marijuana (including Alaska, seriously Alaska).
Here is how the three other states faired on the issue.
- Oregon: Backed a measure that makes it legal for adult ages 21 and over to possess up to eight ounces (that is a lot of weed) of “dried” marijuana and up to four plants.
- Washington, D.C: Made it legal for adults ages 21 and up to possess up to two ounces of pot and up to three marijuana plants for personal use. The measure, which does not allow the legal sale of marijuana, will not take effect until after a review by Congress.
- Alaska: Passed a measure that makes it legal for adults aged 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of pot and up to six plants.
How Much Money Did Florida Miss Out on?
In July the State Department of Health estimates the number of medical marijuana would have an estimated 417,000 patients. The state projected sales ranging from 138 million to 5.6 billion and tax revenues in estimated between $8.3 million to $338 million. In states that have legalized recreational use of marijuana have seen tax revenues blow past projections. In Colorado, tax revenue from marijuana sales has soared far outpacing state projections. Just in August 2014 alone Colorado had approximately $34.1 million in marijuana sales. In the state of Florida which is the 4th largest state in the country you could imagine that revenue generated would far exceed that of Colorado.
Marijuana in Florida Going Forward
Though Amendment two did not pass, we will not go down quietly. The matter is expected to be taken to the Florida Legislature this spring where they have already passed a non-euphoric version of medical marijuana to be used by people with severe medical conditions like cancer.
Despite the loss, business owners have recognized the growing movement and the millions of dollars that could be available from the cannabis industry. Supporters of marijuana legalization have rounded up heavy hitting lobbyist and plan to take this head on into the 2016 election.
Currently 23 states, almost 50% of the county, have legalized the use of medicinal marijuana and now 5 states allow recreational use. After millions spent on attack ads it seems opponents of Amendment two had more money, hired better marketers and targeted the right people. For the south to change, the responsibility is placed on us to regroup and outnumber short sighted opponents in 2016.
Image Copyright Chuck Coker on Flickr Creative Commons.