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Ron DeSantis is making life tough for the cannabis industry in Florida

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By Tony Owusu

Florida is ranked number 26 in 'business friendliness' in this year's CNBC ranking of top states for business. It should probably be ranked much lower.

While Florida activists fight to get a cannabis legalization ballot measure on the state's 2024 ballot, the state's government is making life harder for its medical marijuana industry.

Last month a bill that heightens eligibility requirements for industry workers and increases advertising regulation for the medical marijuana industry went into effect.

The bill removes exemptions from employment background screenings for people with felonies after three years have elapsed, misdemeanors after they've completed the terms of their sentence, and felonies that were reduced to misdemeanors.

So not only does it make it harder for the industry to find workers, but it also punishes previously incarcerated Floridians who may already have a tough time finding employment.

To further burden small business, the laws makes it so that fees for federal fingerprinting processing and retention have to be paid by the business, rather than the individual completing the background check.

Marijuana Moment points out that many marijuana convictions do result in misdemeanor and felony charges, so the bill hamstrings Floridians who have paid their debt to society over an issue that might not be an issue next year.

The law also prohibits any products or messages that promote recreational cannabis use, but doesn't specify what those products or messages entail.

Florida's medical marijuana program has grown by 71% over the past two years from 455,425 active patients in 2020 to 779,465 by the end of 2022.

In the background of all of this is the next year's ballot vote.

Since 1886 Florida has held direct voting for ballot measures to amend their constitution every year.

The Florida Supreme Court recently granted the state attorney general's request for more time to file a brief arguing to keep recreational legalization off of the 2024 ballot.


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