Florida does not need 2,000 ‘pot shops’

Mark Wilson
Miami Herald
July 28, 2016

In 1996, California voters were duped into passing a “medical marijuana” initiative just like Amendment 2 that John Morgan and other trial lawyers are peddling in Florida. Amendment 2 preys on our compassion for those with serious illnesses, but it’s really a thinly veiled effort to legalize pot – which trial lawyers are now investing in.

At the Florida Chamber of Commerce, our mission is to promote a business-friendly climate to help secure Florida’s future. Amendment 2 would be an economic setback because of the broad access and lax controls it would provide for a drug that contains 10 times the level of THC as existed in the days of Woodstock.

Based on data from states that have passed similar measures, the Florida Department of Health estimated that if Amendment 2 passes, there will be approximately 440,552 users with approximately 2,000 dispensaries, or pot shops. There would be more pot shops in Florida than McDonalds, Starbucks and 7-Elevens combined.

Florida voters don’t need to look any further than California to understand how devastating nearly 2,000 pot shops in the Sunshine State would be. Even the co-author of California’s medical marijuana initiative admitted: “Most of the dispensaries operating in California are little more than dope dealers with storefronts.” And since the amendment fails to establish where these dispensaries can and cannot setup shop, the seedy elements of the pot industry could locate near your home, your family’s favorite restaurant, your children’s school or recreation center.

Florida’s focus should be on creating good private-sector jobs for everyone and improving education, not on making pot legal and calling it “medicine.” Will we allow 2,000 pot shops to be crammed into Florida? Or will we reject this attempt to legalize marijuana and keep our job climate competitive?
Mark Wilson, president and CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Tallahassee