Let the cannabis FLO 🌴

What a former Presidential hopeful says about Florida cannabis

Good morning. 

Politicians can be just like us. Sometimes they use frank language to tell it like it is. 

This week Ohio’s Republican Governor Mike DeWine called the current state of cannabis “a goofy situation” and a “real mess” in an interview with the Tribune Chronicle Newspapers. From the sounds of it, DeWine would like Ohio’s legislature to do something – anything – related to cannabis to fix the situation/mess. (h/t to Marijuana Moment)

A 7.5-minute read from JB and JR

💡What’s the big deal?

DeSantis expects legalization measure to be on the ballot

What’s up in Florida: An adult-use legalization ballot measure collected enough signatures to qualify for the November 2024 ballot in Florida.

However, Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody (and staunch ally of Governor Ron DeSantis) has challenged the measure in the State Supreme Court to keep the measure off the ballot. 

A ruling on the case is expected by April.

DeSantis’ insight: Before dropping out of the Presidential race and subsequently endorsing Donald Trump, DeSantis shared that he thought the measure would be on the ballot in November – even though he opposes it. 

Why it matters: There are only two massive states (20+ million people) that do not yet have adult-use cannabis in the works in the US: Florida and Texas. We’ll leave others (for now) to debate Texas’ cannabis future, but Florida is very much on the docket.

If/when the ballot measure gets on the Florida ballot in November, it will be a big industry milestone. When adult-use goes live – whether due to the measure’s success or just the passage of time – Florida will be a massive new market.

Other impacts: Florida is an important state in Presidential elections, recall Bush v. Gore. The question remains to be seen what impact a statewide cannabis legalization ballot measure in Florida would have when it coincides with a hotly-contested Presidential campaign. 

If you like thinking about the intersection of cannabis and politics, consider joining Cultivated’s Jay Rosenthal at “2024 Elections & Cannabis” virtual event on Thursday. 2024 Elections & Cannabis is part of 1871 & Grown In Cannabis Innovation Lab weeklong event.

🥊 Quick hits

Michigan sold more than $3 billion worth of legal cannabis in 2023. 

Not to be left out, Missouri sold more than $1.3 billion worth of legal cannabis in 2023.

Arizona’s push for social equity didn’t go as planned

What’s happening?: According to a story in the Arizona Republic, of the 26 social equity licenses that were available for adult-use sales in Arizona, only one remains owned, operated, and controlled by the licensee. 

The rest? Mostly large, mostly multi-state operators.  

Why’d it happen?: Setting up social equity programs as state’s legalize adult-use cannabis regimes has been fraught. While intentions are noble – to provide a path to ownership for those disproportionately affected by the failed War on Drugs – implementation has been challenging.

What about other states? New York has attempted to build social equity into the licensing process. But it is that same social equity licensing process which has been hampered and slowed down by lawsuits by those not qualifying for social equity licensing. Other states have similarly had limited success.

Why it matters: Arizona is yet another example of good intentions losing out to bad implementation. 

Milestone openings in the Empire State

Driving the news: New York’s market has been slow to develop, but that’s starting to change. 

This week, The Travel Agency and Curaleaf both opened up cannabis shops in the Empire State.

Why it matters: The Travel Agency’s first location, Union Square, has been a very visible bright spot for New York cannabis, even attracting a steady-stream of celebrity budtenders like Amy Sedaris and Sarah Silverman

Curaleaf is one of North America’s largest cannabis companies. The opening of Curaleaf’s adult-use shop in New York signals a loosening of New York’s regulations and licensing, and importantly, additional access to legal cannabis for New Yorkers. 

What’s next: While New York’s ramp up has been slow, with more and more stores opening up weekly, including major regional and national players, options for consumers to buy legal cannabis in New York will increase. 

Perhaps that will start chipping away at the persistent illicit market.  

Barcelona City Council wants to shut down cannabis social clubs

What’s happening?: The well-known and well-loved cannabis social clubs in Barcelona are under renewed scrutiny from the City Council and appear to be in danger, according to Forbes. 

What are cannabis social clubs: Here’s how cannabis social clubs are described on cannabisbarcelona.com: Unlike Amsterdam coffee-shops, cannabis clubs in Barcelona are not commercially focused. They are private and discreet on the outside and inside they are like a cozy living room with comfortable sofas, game tables, kind staff and a unique ambiance. At a Barcelona cannabis club you will live a relaxed experience and enjoy different cannabis products and munchies in a safe, warm and peaceful atmosphere.    

What’s next: Expect policymakers, and the cannabis community at large to watch what happens closely as other European countries including Germany and the Czech Republic weigh the cannabis social club model instead of commercialization. 

There are ongoing protests and a push against the City Council in Barcelona. Follow HQ Barcelona on Instagram. #ifyouknowyouknow. 

🎒 What we’re reading

📈 Deal or no deal

Indiva Announces Private Placement Under the Listed Issuer Financing Exemption up to $4,000,000

Planet 13 Enters Definitive Agreement to Sell MMTC License in Florida

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