Legalizing marijuana would create a safer market in Florida

Florida could soon join the 24 states that have endorsed legalizing marijuana for adults. With the Florida Supreme Court approving the proposed constitutional amendment legalizing adult-use marijuana for the November ballot, voters now have the opportunity to enact a sweeping change for our state that includes legalizing adult-use marijuana.

Matt Lowther [ Provided ]

It represents more than a political adjustment; It is a cultural and economic change whose benefits are felt in all areas of the state. Take Nevada, where the cannabis industry is expected to create more than 41,000 jobs and generate $1.7 billion in labor income by year's end. California's experience suggests the creation of at least 81,000 jobs and a $3.5 billion increase in labor income. Florida is poised not only to repeat these successes, but to exceed them.

The national picture suggests that legalization could create one million good-paying jobs by 2025, highlighting the significant impact on Florida's livelihoods in cultivation, processing, distribution and retail. This growth is also driving ancillary sectors, including technology, finance and construction.

Beyond job creation, legal cannabis nourishes communities, with states that have legalized recreational use seeing a 3% increase in average state income per capita. This reflects a broader trend toward states taking forward-thinking measures such as cannabis legalization.

A cornerstone of the legalization discourse is the emphasis on safety and rigorous product testing that distinguishes the legal cannabis market from the unregulated sectors. Cannabis products purchased on the legal market are free of pesticides, heavy metals, mold and other dangerous additives and contaminants, including fentanyl. The regulated market guarantees safe, quality products, which are crucial for consumer protection and industry trust.

The transition from legalized medical use to adult use is well documented. As more states transition to recreational activities, we have best practices we can adopt in Florida. In Massachusetts, we have taken proactive steps to ease the transition to adult use. Building strong partnerships with local law enforcement early on addressed issues from traffic to safety, ensuring our transition not only went smoothly, but also had a positive impact on the communities in which we operate. The 24 states that transitioned to adult use before Florida serve as examples of how strategic planning and collaboration can effectively address potential challenges.

The push to legalize adult-use marijuana in Florida is not just a path to economic and job growth; It represents a significant advance in public safety. The transition to a regulated market ensures product safety, limits illegal activities and facilitates cooperation with local authorities to preemptively address community problems.

Supporting the legalization of adult-use cannabis is a vote for a future supported by a responsible, safe cannabis industry that creates jobs and strengthens communities. It is an opportunity for Florida to lead the way in promoting a prosperous and secure future through the thoughtful legalization of adult-use marijuana. Let’s seize this opportunity to build a safer, more prosperous Florida for all.

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Matt Lowther is the Florida Market President of Surterra Wellness, a vertically integrated cannabis company that operates 45 medical marijuana treatment centers in the state of Florida.

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