In the upcoming legislative session, lawmakers will debate how to implement the state’s new medical marijuana regulations. 71% of voters approved a measure to allow more patients to access the drug. One of the top fundraisers behind the effort wants to see more competition in the industry.
Two Republican lawmakers are offering dueling bills to implement Amendment 2. Orange Park Senator Rob Bradley’s bill would keep the state’s current framework with a tight hold on available permits. The proposal from Senator Jeff Brandes of St Petersburg would allow businesses to specialize as cultivators or retailers, potentially opening the door for more marijuana shops. Orlando trial attorney John Morgan is a key donor, and he wants to see more competition.
“The people who are trying to make it restrictive I think are wrong. The people who are trying to give it to three or four or five growers are wrong. I am a capitalist, I’m a free market capitalist. I say let the best man win,” Morgan said.
But he says local governments would still control distribution locations.
“One of the lies they used to say to me in debates, is oh there’s gonna be a pot shop next to schools and on every corner. I used to say, listen that’s total B.S. Is there a strip club next to churches?” he asked.
Cities across the state have passed moratoriums to slow the spread of marijuana dispensaries.