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Sluggish June fundraising for cannabis legalization amendment

Big money is staying away.

June continued a trend of sluggish fundraising for the Sensible Florida political committee, even though it was its best month this year.

With just over $150,000 raised (and under $20,000 on hand), the committee languishes when compared to the $6 million raised by All Voters Vote. Or the over $800,000 a month John Morgan is putting into the minimum wage amendment.

However, there are relative indications that it could yet be marijuana’s moment.

For one: the committee raised $12,359, its strongest haul since raising over $22,000 in Nov. 2018.

Of that sum, $7,000 came from Boynton Beach’s Christopher Williams. Another $3,000 came from the opaquely named CMB Diversified.

Bigger names are not routinely involved with this effort. Medical cannabis companies Trulieve and Liberty Health cut checks last year, but not since well before the 2019 Legislative Session.

With renewed pressures on what an appeals judge calls the vertical integration “oligopoly” Florida’s medical cannabis companies have enjoyed up until now, it will be interesting to see if medical vendors push toward a 2020 ballot initiative for legal adult-use cannabis with operator caps potentially a thing of the past.

The citizens’ initiative for the November 2020 ballot has just under 67,000 valid petitions, roughly 9,000 shy of the threshold for a judicial and financial impact review, and roughly 700,000 below getting a ballot position.

Petition collection and submission is ongoing, with the appropriately named Grassroots Petitioners of Tampa (a company run by committee chair Michael Minardi) collecting $15,000 in June, the biggest expense of the $19,278 spend.

If petition collection and fundraising ramp up, polls suggest that there may be broad based conceptual support for regulated adult-use cannabis at the 60 percent threshold necessary to legalize it.

Even Republicans, claim the polls, are less likely to criticize it than in bygone times.

Despite this conceptual support for cannabis legalization, potentially serious headwinds await should this make the ballot, including opposition from popular Gov. Ron DeSantis.

“Not while I’m governor,” DeSantis told Capitol News Service. “I mean look, when that is introduced with teenagers and young people, I think it has a really detrimental effect to their well being and their maturity.”

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a working journalist for over two decades. Gancarski has been a correspondent for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at a.g.gancarski@gmail.com.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. James Surf

    July 11, 2019 at 3:50 pm

    Chris Williams is President and Founder of Sunshine Cannabis and they donate a portion of all their legal MMJ sales to the legalization effort to Free the Plant for Florida and legalize homegrow. Sunshine Cannabis medical marijuana products are available at Trulieve.com and statewide in all the Trulieve dispensaries.

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