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Top Donor Wants More Competition For Medical Marijuana Industry

Cannabinoid pills distributed by Trulieve, a state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary.
Trulieve
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

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.

Cannabinoid pills distributed by Trulieve, a state-sanctioned medical marijuana dispensary.
Credit Trulieve / http://trulieve.com/
/
The Florida Channel
Medical marijuana from dispenser Trulieve.

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.

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As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.