The Regulate Florida petition is made of three separate sections, each addressing a different aspect of the industry, and how the amendment will be implemented. This amendment is self-executing and does not rely on the legislature to act or to pass an implementing bill in order for it to take effect. The three main components of Regulate Florida are the personal and individual component, the business component and finally, possibly the most important component, individual liberty and the rights that it gives everybody.
First, everyone wants to know the individual guarantees it creates for personnel use of cannabis, what people will be able to do in their homes and their vehicles and how they can integrate cannabis into their lives. We first abolish any sort of controlled and specified limits as to how much cannabis a person can possess for themselves in their household. We want to make sure the people have the ability to be able to use cannabis, not only as an adult use product, but also as a wellness product. The personal use amount one can possess is permitted “in quantities reasonably indicative of personal use or for use by household members” of raw product cannabis products, as defined in the amendment. This includes use, purchase of, and transportation of cannabis.
The amendment permits the most important thing for many cannabis users and patients, the ability to cultivate cannabis and gain the therapeutic benefits from doing so. The cultivation of cannabis is again a self-executing provision, which becomes effective automatically on January 5, 2021. The amendment establishes that people are permitted to have up to 6 mature, flowering plants per adult 21 and over in the household. We do not specify a limit on vegetative plants; the intent is to only limit the number of mature flowering plants, not vegetative. The amendment specifically allows people to possess the harvest from their plants. We also specify that adults 21 and over can share up to an ounce with other adults 21 and over. The amendment never approves or allows use by people under 21.
Remember this provision is self- executing as of the effective date of the amendment. January 5th people will be able to begin cultivating and sharing cannabis with one another. The legislature cannot override the amendment nor prevent adults from cultivating cannabis consistent with the amendment. We establish that this section and amendment are minimum requirements and the state cannot limit or reduce the numbers in this amendment. The state legislature or municipalities, however, can increase these amounts with a constitutional amendment. The plants must be cultivated in a locked room or greenhouse. The amendment permits the transportation of cannabis by a person 21 and over in amounts reasonably indicative for themselves or for members of their household.
For businesses, Regulate Florida believes we need an open horizontal market. The amendment provides regulations to create an open market ensuring better quality products for consumers. As this market develops, like wine connoisseurs, people will seek a better, higher quality cannabis product. There will be people who will desire products in different varieties and forms, as they already have in so many other states.
Regulate Florida, within its amendment, gives oversight of this program to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, which is the division of Florida government that has been regulating so many of our businesses throughout the state, including alcohol sales. Within the amendment, and the reason for its 4 page length, is a list of the requirements that an entity must establish in order to get a license in Florida. We wanted to ensure clarity of the requirements, and quick and efficient establishment of an industry in the state. We set a defined time line for the state to act in issuing licenses, and inherent remedies giving the power to municipalities to act if the state does not act in accordance with Amendment.
When applications are filed there is a defined timeline for a response. The department or municipalities must state, in writing, the reason for any denial within 90 days of submission of the application. The entity would then have the ability to cure any defect. The specific regulations the department can adopt are rules necessary for implementation, including procedures for licensing, which should only include, a residency requirement of living in the United states for 5 years prior to being licensed, a requirement that 25% of the directors, members, partners or joint venturor applicants, have been domiciled in the state for at least 6 months immediately prior to applying. This does not apply to people who are solely investors or owners. The other requirements are: security requirements for establishments, requirements that prevent sale or diversion to persons under 21, labeling and packaging requirements for cannabis and cannabis products, health and safety regulations and standards for manufacturing and testing of cannabis products and the cultivation of cannabis, guidelines on advertising and civil penalties for failure to comply with these regulations. The amendment does permit people with a criminal charge in their past the ability to get into the industry after an evaluation of their record and rehabilitation.
In order to ensure that the people of Florida get the products they deserve, we require a separation and division of licenses in a horizontal structure. This means that people can apply for only a cultivation license, only a processing license, or other license permitted in the amendment, and not be required to be vertically integrated. The amendment does not prevent a company from acquiring one or all licenses.
Licensing would permit cultivation, production facilities for products, transportation companies, and retail facilities. The licensing structure does require a separation of the wholesale and retail market. The amendment only permits cannabis retail sellers to sell directly to the consumer.
The intent of the amendment is to create a business structure promoting innovation, competition, and quality for the consumer. The amendment does not contain a tax provision as we leave that decision up to the legislature.
The amendment also addresses public use and gives the right to private business establishments to permit the use of cannabis on their premises. Cannabis has always been a social substance and Regulate Florida wants to allow for social lounges where people can come together and share their cannabis in a social environment. All of these efforts are to ensure that the state of Florida and the businesses of Florida, both in the cannabis industry and the tourism industry, benefit from the economic boom that this industry will provide.
The liberties created by the amendment will affect everyone and protect the citizens of Florida. We have seen so many problems, not only in this state with our medical program, but across the country, as both patients and people continue to be stereotyped, segregated and devalued as result of their use of cannabis. The Regulate Florida petition aims to not only protect your right to use this plant, but also other important vital rights we as American citizens, need and hold so dear.
The right to employment and the right to work to take care of yourself and your family are rights that everyone should have. While our society permits, and encourages, people to use other substances during the weekends, on lunch breaks or in their free time, there is no reason why cananbis should be treated any differently. That is why Regulate Florida prevents employers from sanctioning people for using cannabis in non-work hours.
Regulate Florida ensures smoke shops and places that sell cannabis paraphernalia are protected. We want to ensure these businesses can open freely, can answer questions of their patients and customers and thrive within this new industry. To do that, Regulate Florida requires the legislature to amend the definition of paraphernalia as it relates to the use of cannabis. Regulate Florida also amends the gun laws consistent with this amendment to permit people to both use and possess cannabis and continue to retain their state right to a firearm.
Regulate Florida requires that before a local municipality attempts to ban a cannabis facility, it must be put to a vote of the people in a general election. We intend to ensure that when cities and counties overwhelmingly vote in favor of adult use of cannabis, a group of 3 or 4 people cannot prevent it from happening..
All aspects of the RF Amendment are self-executing; an implementing bill by the legislature is not necessary. The RF Amendment makes sure that the day it is effective, January 5th, 2021, people can put plants in the ground and the clock starts ticking on licensing. Regulate Florida does encourage people to get involved in politics, both on the local level, with county and city commissioners, and on the state level with their representatives and senators. We need to continue to elect candidates who are going to support the expansion of cannabis freedoms.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit more about Regulate Florida. The original creators of this petition started it while petitioning to get medical cannabis on the ballot. There was a consistent question from people signing the medical petition, “Why not just legalize it and tax it?” This group has come together for the plant, based on our love of it, based on our belief of the injustices that have gone on for far too long and because of its benefits. It’s time that we end the injustice, it’s time we rise up and take back this plant that has been taken from us. Get active; get involved; donate and sign the petition. Nothing in life is given, but everything can be taken and this is the time we take back this plant for the people.