What Medical Marijuana Means for the South
Florida has passed medical marijuana into legalization, and they could be responsible for more expansion of the industry than they realize. Since Florida is in close proximity to some particularly anti-marijuana southern states, we may see some similarities between what has been happening in Colorado and what could happen to Florida, but there is a chance that their participation in the industry could lead to a much faster acceptance in surrounding states.
I am from Tennessee, which is not a great place to live if you want marijuana to be an important part of your life, as even with heartbreaking stories of kids with ailments that could be extremely effectively remedied by medical cannabis, the push to get any sort of new state legislation on the plant has always failed. But now that Florida will be cultivating medical marijuana there is most likely going to be an overflow of black market sales from Florida to surrounding states, as that market never completely disappears, even in Colorado where you would think recreational sales would have helped squelch that presence there are still many people who use dispensary deals to make extra money on the side.
Some time ago Colorado came under scrutiny from surrounding states because it was said that their law enforcement was having to deal with more and more issues coming from recreational sales, people crossing state lines with products either just bought for themselves or in some cases just general trafficking. While this is of course a negative it does begin to tear down arguments against marijuana use, especially when you see your state’s populous leaving to go somewhere else to spend their money. This has an interesting effect of encouragement on the public from surrounding states, and can help push a state government to more seriously consider just what it is their state may be losing out on by not having their own medical or recreational programs in place.
The initial effect is generally some degree of exodus, and we will probably see many of the people that genuinely need cannabis for medical purposes moving to Florida from surrounding states. In Colorado’s case this heavily impacted the real estate market, and should they decide to move forward with recreational sales they will also see a great rise in their already substantial tourism industry. But even more important is the presence of an acceptance of marijuana in the south.
The south really has made no advancement in marijuana acceptance or legislation, with the exception of some instances where CBD products are available in medical capacities, but recreational might as well be a curse word. But now that Florida has begun their journey to solidify their own medical market, the southern states will have to sit by and watch as Florida rakes in money that could be theirs if they were to think about some form of legalization. This presence alone is important, as the previous closest place to watch deal with the marijuana industry was Washington D.C. I believe.
I left Tennessee to come to Colorado to be a part of this industry and gain as much experience as I could so that someday I could return and help my home’s market expand as much as possible, but the main reason I left was because I felt that southern states would be among the last to accept any kind of industry existence. But now that Florida has begun their journey I am much more hopeful that the south will take a much harder look at just what can be gained from participation in this growing marijuana world. I just hope that it goes well, so that I can go home someday and help the people close to me.