Economic Benefits of Marijuana in Florida
The economics benefits of marijuana business are huge in scale, and cannot be ignored. The plant has long held a place within the respective histories of agricultural, medicinal, and textile industries. Even American history itself is intrinsically tied to the growth and use of marijuana. Our most famously revered founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, both were noted to have grown the plant hemp; a variety of cannabis often used in the making of cloth. Now the use of hemp has been outlawed, along with the use of marijuana under any context. Washington and Jefferson understood the potential value of marijuana as an economic resource. This value has only increased as more and more discoveries about the benefits of marijuana have been uncovered. Legalizing the growth and use of marijuana would have a drastic effect on the economy of Florida by opening the doors for taxation through dispensaries, and giving the state a new multipurpose agricultural crop.
Economic Benefits – Marijuana Dispensaries
The dispensary system that has sprung up to great success across the nation would have much to offer in regards to Florida’s economy. Florida already has a huge number of pain clinics across the state. The dispensaries would offer a safer alternative to the prescription pain killers that have been the norm thus far in these clinics. In Colorado there have been huge sales of marijuana since medical marijuana dispensaries began business; the government has reported sales of over 200 million dollars over the 2011-2012 fiscal year. The tax dollars on those sales were higher than 5 million dollars (Colorado Dept. of Revenue). Florida has even more potential for economic benefits of marijuana revenue than Colorado when keeping in mind the high demand that drives the state’s pain clinics. This demand also has the potential to drive Florida’s economy through the agricultural sector by capitalizing on the growth of the plant itself.
Economic Benefits of Marijuana – Cash Crop
Florida is an ideal locale for the growth of marijuana, considering it already has such a strong agricultural infrastructure. The addition of a marijuana crop to the agricultural industry will have a large impact on the workforce. The United States is on the tipping point; with legalization in both Colorado and Washington only showing successful signs up to this point, it is presumable that many states are soon to follow. That being said, large corporate farms will be looking for a stable home in which they can supply the country’s great demand for marijuana. It makes absolute sense for Florida to open its doors and allow this huge potential for economic growth. These large scale farming operations will provide a wide variety of jobs which will minimize Florida’s 6.2 percent average unemployment rate (Florida Department of Economic Opportunity). The fact that cannabis can be used as both a medicinal source and as a textile source is only more reinforcement for companies to invest in Florida’s agricultural economy. The hemp industry alone is noted to average 500 million dollars per year in the US and that is only as an imported good— it can’t legally be grown in the states (Hemp History Week). After factoring in sales through dispensaries, and retail, it can only be imagined how much that number could grow; with the passage of Senate Bill 1562, House Bill 1039, and the due time required, the marijuana crop could feasibly rival Florida’s oranges.
“Chart of Unemployment Rates.” Chart of Unemployment Rates. Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.
“Department of Revenue: Colorado Medical Marijuana Sales Data.” Department of Revenue: Colorado Medical Marijuana Sales Data. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Mar. 2014.
“Did You Know?” Hemp History Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.
Written by Matthew Kleinman