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Pro-legalization campaign cash in Florida

Plus, the New York Times tackles adolescents and legal cannabis

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Good morning.

We’ve been saying it for months, but cannabis is now a front-burner issue on the national policy and political stage. Today is no different – with Florida’s campaign heating up, and the New York Times diving deep. 

Let’s get to it.

-JB & JR

This newsletter is 834 words or about a 5-minute read. 

💡What’s the big deal?

Florida’s Amendment 3 raking in cannabis campaign cash

Driving the news: Florida voters are going to the polls in November to vote on Amendment 3 – whether the state should legalize. The measure needs to reach the 60% threshold in a notoriously politically divided state.

Pro-legalization campaign cash is pouring in, we learned this week. Nearly $55 million from MSOs like Trulieve, Curaleaf, and Verano have been funding the campaign, as of their campaign filings as of March 31. (Note: The measure only officially got on the ballot April 1, when the State Supreme Court gave Amendment 3 the nod for November.)

Why it matters: Winning a 60% election is never easy, even as polling last week conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce had the measure nearing the 60% threshold. But, Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis has voiced his opposition to the measure, and recently lined up the State GOP to oppose, opening the door for big anti-legalization spending. 

What they’re saying: Morgan Hill, spokesperson for the pro-Amendment 3 Smart & Safe Florida, noted that recent messaging and advertisements are, “Talking about the importance of safety and transparency and the incredible economic benefits we'll see from Amendment 3. I think that's really the type of campaign we're going to run.” 

If you haven’t seen the Amendment 3 ad already, we’ve got you covered on Cultivated’s YouTube channel:

What’s next: The pro-Amendment 3 campaign is going to be well-funded, as the March 31st campaign filings show. But if (and when) DeSantis fires up the GOP campaign cash machine in Florida, the uphill battle will get even harder for the pro-cannabis side. 


💬 Quote of the day

Cannabis politics is officially a front-burner issue. We’ve seen both President Biden and Vice President Harris on the campaign trail talking cannabis.

And now, previously skeptical politicians (especially Democrats) are voicing their support. The latest: Ohio Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown, on Twitter/X over the weekend:

All the news that’s fit to print about legalization and adolescent cannabis use

What happened: Following the official White House announcement that cannabis was going to be rescheduled, the New York Times dove deep into how legalization affects adolescent cannabis use.

Why it matters: One of the key knocks prohibitionists use against cannabis is that young people will have more access to legal cannabis and therefore use more cannabis when they wouldn’t have otherwise. 

Unfortunately for prohibitionists, data suggests otherwise. 

From the expert: The New York Times talked with Rebekah Levine Coley, a professor of developmental psychology and educational psychology at Boston College, about what data says about adolescent cannabis use and legalization. 

Because the NYT is behind a paywall, you’ll have to trust us that she did a very good job unpacking what those in the cannabis world already know:

“...we are seeing very small declines in cannabis use in states that legalized recreational cannabis, as well as declines in alcohol use and e-cigarettes.”

But also, for those adolescents that do use cannabis:

“...among adolescents who were users, their frequency of use increased…”

Zoom out: As the cannabis conversation takes the national policy and political stage, expect many more pieces like the one in the New York Times to be written - especially about adolescent cannabis use and legalization.

Facts matter for these stories – but also for policy makers and regulators when putting legalization into place. So, having the New York Times help demystify data, can be very helpful.


Quick hits

Two players on the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs were arrested on cannabis charges last week in Johnson County, Kansas. They are out on bail, but were clearly on the wrong side of the Missouri/Kansas border for cannabis.

In an effort to get a medical cannabis measure before Nebraska voters this fall, it appears that the pro-cannabis campaign has cleared another hurdle towards qualifying the measure, according to the Nebraska Examiner.

A bill that would have started building out an eventual regulatory process of legalization in Louisiana, failed this week. It wasn’t legalization, but it was the baby steps forward to building out regulations if (and when) the state or the feds legalize cannabis.

🚀 Deals, launches, partnerships

In a sign of challenging times, the Agrify/Nature’s Miracle merger has been called off. Like with all good break-ups, both sides are saying it was mutual via press release

📰 What we’re reading

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