Florida has spent $2M on legal bills for medical marijuana
There are real costs to implementing a very restrictive merit-based medical marijuana program that do not similarly appear for a more open state licensing system.
The first and most obvious is the cost of running the merit-based process and hiring experts to judge the applications. But as we see with Florida, and also in Ohio, Maryland, and many other states with restrictive systems, there are millions of dollars in legal fees to defend from lawsuits.
Florida has spent nearly $2 million on outside council to assist with those lawsuits. This is on top of the millions of dollars of taxpayer funding the state has spent on their own staff attorneys. And all of this funding goes to ensuring the legal legitimacy of a system that is much more restrictive than what voters voted on and serves the interest of just a handful of very wealthy business operators.
Ontario to allow private retailers to sell cannabis, province will handle online sales
Very important move in Canada as Ontario announces it will allow private cannabis retailers, scrapping the previous provincial government’s plan to run their own storefronts. As we have seen in California, local regulation and the speed of licensing has a significant effect on the success of legalization. Transitioning consumers from the illicit market is necessary for the policy to work and if prices are too high, product availability and selection is too low, and stores are not convenient, then consumers will continue purchasing from the underground market. It is my hope, and general belief as an American who favors regulated, yet privately run, business that this policy change will be an improvement.
But the government will still have an important role as they will act as a distributor intermediary and will control the only permitted porthole for online sales.