Florida's Marijuana Legalization Battle Gets Nasty
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) More than any other state this year, perhaps because of the high stakes in play and the dollars at stake, Florida's legalization battle is shaping up to be one of the most dramatic if not nastiest in the country .
While the issue of marijuana legalization plays a starring role, the undercurrents are very much driven by political power and money as well as the future of marijuana medical access in the U.S.
The bit players in the drama include some of the nation's most powerful political and business interests who appear to be more motivated by scoring votes and raising money and personal status than by patients' rights or new entrepreneurial markets for small business.
The result is a hypocritical display of pandering politics and attempts at power grabs characterized most recently by Governor Andrew Cuomo's attempts to become the "man at the kill switch" to control the state access issue in New York in June .
Part of the story is that Florida has a huge potential demand for both medical and recreational use. Potential ganjapreneurs are already setting up infrastructure in anticipation of a widely anticipated November victory.
It doesn't take the stoner version of Warren Buffet to see why.
The state's well-heeled seniors are becoming a demographic of aging Boomers with time on their hands, money in their pockets and age-related medical conditions that medical marijuana can treat like no other drug . This would be a drug (or many of them) just for this demographic that could also easily be funded by Obamacare if not Medicare (if not Medicaid) and for which there are many eligible patients.
Part of the story is the quagmire that is devolving given the seniority of those involved in both Florida if not national party politics. However, the issues if not individuals involved contradict the claim that this battle is a local or a partisan one, a flatly misleading that has already appeared in the national press given the direct impact already experienced.
There are in fact direct ties to the legalization business and body politic that extend from the Florida drama directly to New York, Nevada and beyond. How the marijuana policy goes in Florida, therefore may stamp the tone if not the issue itself on political platforms nationally heading into 2016 and the burgeoning industry.
The easiest way to understand the the marijuana legalization adoption and resistance is to merely follow the money.