With the prospect of a potential November vote in Florida on cannabis legalization, a GOP legislator, Representative Ralph Massullo, has introduced a measure that would establish strict restrictions on THC potency in the event of voter approval. Introduced last week, Massullo’s measure suggests a THC cap significantly lower than the prevailing limits in most cannabis markets.
The proposed limitations would become effective 30 days after voters endorse any future constitutional amendment endorsing legalization. The measure proposes a 10% THC limit for smoking-related marijuana products and a 60% limit for other cannabis products, such as extracts. The highest amount of THC allowed in edibles under this legislation would be 200 milligrams, with a 10-milligram cap on each serving.
Such stringent limits could pose significant challenges in commerce and logistics within the potential recreational cannabis market, likely drawing backlash from stakeholders, advocates and consumers. Notably, the average THC content in marijuana flower sold at recreational or medical dispensaries usually ranges between 20% and 30%. This mirrors the existing scenario in the state’s medical marijuana market, where the measure’s focus on “recreational use potency limits” may create complications by establishing different THC regulations for recreational consumers and patients.
Contrastingly, Florida’s current medical marijuana dosage limits, revised in 2022 amid some controversy, do not depend on THC percentage. The bill introduces a complex definition of potency, specifically addressing cannabis dispensed to a caregiver or patient in terms of relative cannabinoid strength and total THC content.
The bill seems to specifically target the impending legalization vote initiative awaiting the outcome of the state’s Supreme Court ruling. A legal challenge against the reform put up by Smart and Safe Florida, which gathered almost a million signatures to qualify for the ballot, is being led by the state’s attorney general, Ashley Moody. Even though the court heard oral arguments in November, its position on the initiative is still unknown.
Crucially, the ballot measure itself does not establish THC potency limits. Therefore, Massullo’s bill could potentially preempt the initiative, preventing voters from deciding on the matter independently. This legislative strategy is reminiscent of moves made by Ohio GOP legislators after voters approved a recreational cannabis legalization bill. In Ohio, efforts are underway to amend the marijuana law significantly, with similar discussions about implementing THC potency limits.
Meanwhile, a Florida GOP senator filed a measure last month that would permit approved medical cannabis companies to qualify for tax deductions from the state otherwise not allowed at the national level due to code 280E.
The struggle for reforms isn’t only playing out in Florida. Even jurisdictions where companies such as Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) have their own issues and efforts to bring incremental improvements are underway.
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