Trulieve pumps $5M more into marijuana legalization push

trulieve 10.30.18 (2)
Adult-use cannabis push for 2024 has big money behind it already.

The industry leader in Florida cannabis is putting its money where its mouth is when it comes to expanding the market.

Trulieve, which has twice as many storefronts as any competitor and which has historically dominated sales in the state’s marijuana sector, put another $5 million into the Smart and Safe Florida initiative to legalize non-medical marijuana use for adults.

If this initiative is successful and gets on the ballot, it would create a potential for a citizen initiative-driven constitutional amendment that would elevate legalized cannabis to the state constitution, assuming 60% of Floridians voted “yes.”

Trulieve’s $5 million donation on Sept. 2 is the second one in less than a month, as the multistate operator put $5 million into the campaign on Aug. 9. Thus far, Trulieve is the only contributor to the effort, with none of the state’s other Medical Marijuana Treatment Companies ponying up.

Time will tell if that changes, but it would seem other companies, especially multistate operators, would have an interest in that expansion of the market.

With 891,589 valid signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot, the committee is spending big money on petitions already. The group has sent $6.5 million to petition vendors, with Axiom Strategies of Missouri getting $5 million, and Vanguard Field Strategies of Arizona getting $1.5 million.

The 2024 initiative push comes in the wake of previous failed efforts to get a citizen initiative legalizing cannabis on the ballot. The Make It Legal Florida committee offered a similar push for this year’s ballot, getting over 550,000 signatures to that end before the Florida Supreme Court rejected the “clearly and conclusively defective” ballot language in a 5-2 decision.

The latest push for recreational cannabis comes amid critiques of the medical marijuana program under Gov. Ron DeSantis’ watch. Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, a medical patient and cannabis advocate, has said the current medical program is a “disaster” under the DeSantis administration, which has imposed restrictions on patient dosage and has been slow to expand licensure to new companies that could enter the market.

DeSantis, meanwhile, is a staunch opponent of cannabis.

“What I don’t like about it is if you go to some of these places that have done it, the stench when you’re out there, I mean, it smells so putrid,” he told reporters in Tallahassee in January, regarding the legalization of adult-use cannabis.

More recently, DeSantis has suggested the price to play should go up in what is an increasingly commercialized Florida market.

“I would charge them an arm and a leg,” DeSantis said in August. “I mean, everybody wants these licenses.”

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


12 comments

  • Richard Bruce

    September 12, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Will Trulieve be held responsible for the health effects and criminal behavior (DUI/petty theft) of their customers? They should be forced to pay into public medical care. Gov’t is spending tens of millions discouraging tobacco usage. Why is MJ usage promoted?

    • Lolrational

      September 12, 2022 at 11:37 am

      Tobacco and alcohol companies aren’t responsible for their consumers, so I’d guess the same would be true for grass. But why do you trust the government to decide what is permissible for a person to do to their own body? Would you be okay with earrings being illegal or would you realize that it is as silly as it sounds?

      • Lolrational

        September 12, 2022 at 11:48 am

        Btw, since I anticipate irrelevant arguments:
        Mine is not an abortionist’s argument. I label that would be doing something to someone else’s body. (But Less than half of humans’ bodies are even capable of sustaining life for a second person, so my argument is clearly and now explicitly about the general case)

        • marylou

          September 12, 2022 at 2:18 pm

          Sure..because someone else is capable of sustaining (growing) a life the government should force them to do that, right? You sound just like those “pro-life” women who think their own situation is “different “, so they “deserve” an abortion. There are a lot of them—-people who don’t care until it affects them personally. You know that’s a trait of sociopaths, right?

          For anyone who is okay with the government inserting itself into another person’s uterus, they should consider how they would react if they invited (forced-birthers love to say “invited”), a guest to a party and the guest refused to leave for months, and started demanding food delivery and life support services, and endangering their children’s security and wellbeing, and causing physical and emotional health problems, and limiting their activities, and even threatening their life. Like you would put up with that, right?
          You won’t even let anybody tell you that you can’t stick a piece of metal in your ear!

          Abortion is the removal of an embryo or fetus that a woman does not want in HER body. No one has a right to be inside someone else’s body, (and for forced-birthers who ridiculously say, “you gave it permission”—- women ALWAYS have the right to say “no”, no matter how many times they have previously said “yes”), even to save a life. An embryo is not entitled to more rights than any born person has. For politicians to take away a woman’s bodily autonomy and integrity is cruel and shows a complete lack of morals.

          Abortion is not irrelevant —— and you know that. You are attempting to take back your very good argument for abortion rights, but are instead just revealing your HYPOCRISY. And, since you might not be able to resist saying it, I didn’t want to force you to get the Covid vaccine.

        • marylou

          September 12, 2022 at 2:27 pm

          You made a very good argument for abortion rights. Don’t show what a HYPOCRITE YOU ARE by acting like you think it’s irrelevant. You know it’s not!

    • Brian

      September 12, 2022 at 12:31 pm

      We’ll unlike marijuana Tabacco has ADDITIVE chemicals that are harmful to smoke and second hand is bad also weed if smoked with paper isn’t even in the second hand department

    • Brian Kelly

      September 12, 2022 at 10:31 pm

      The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

      Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

      The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

      Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

      Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

      The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

      Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

      Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

      Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

  • Hope

    September 12, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers is the spouse of JT Burnett who is serving time in a federal penitentiary caught up in corruption with former Democratic Party Chair and former Tallahassee mayor Scott Maddox, who is also serving time in a federal penitentiary due to corruption investigated by the FBI.

  • Gloria

    September 12, 2022 at 2:20 pm

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  • Ron Kirkland

    September 13, 2022 at 8:00 am

    Follow the anti-cannabis money. It`s gonna take lots of money to counter them! They have no intention on letting US consume cannabis? Just keep pushing their opinion on most of US and forget the good cannabis does medically and psychologically for PTSD.

  • Robert Petrie

    September 13, 2022 at 2:06 pm

    Its 95% easier to take the guns from the sheeple that are high from smoking their doobies.
    Y’all old hippies are so stupid.

  • David Glass

    September 13, 2022 at 10:27 pm

    Cannabis being schedule 1 is a flat out lie and I don’t see how they still get set with it.

    “Lists the most dangerous drugs” is cannabis really one of the most dangerous drugs? No one has died from it. Alcohol is legal! It’s killed so many users and innocent people.

    “High probability of abuse” so what about coffee? Alcohol? Sugar? High probability compared to what?

    “No recognized medical value” seeing the big pharma taking a hit seems to point otherwise. Cannabis is said to have more medicinal value across a wider spectrum of conditions than any other medicine.

    This is one of the greatest lies of all time. How do we live in land of the free yet only the government can dictate what’s good and bad for you.

    You should be able to put whatever you want in your body and heal it however you wish. None should be forced to limiting their options for recovery or recreational. Instead, we are forced to take the government approved big pharma drugs and alcohol, which can kill you when mixed together.

    End the lie.

Comments are closed.


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