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Cannabis cocktails at the club? How the marijuana industry may change in Florida

Michelle Marchante, Miami Herald on

Published in News & Features

MIAMI — What’s the future of marijuana in Florida?

First, a ballot issue in November that will ask voters whether they want to legalize recreational use.

Then there is the business.

Cannabis company CEOs say they’re preparing for increased demand for cannabis products and accessories if recreational pot is legalized. Giving the OK to recreational weed could also boost the hospitality industry in South Florida by cashing in on cannabis.

Cannabis beer on tap? Edibles instead of after-dinner mints?

In some states where recreational marijuana is already legal, restaurants can apply for a “social consumption lounge license,” which lets customers consume marijuana on site.

 

While Florida isn’t considering that yet, it’s something cannabis entrepreneurs think could happen in the future if voters approve Amendment 3 in November.

Florida has a strong and growing $2 billion medical marijuana market with lots of opportunity for growth, especially if weed becomes available to all adults, according to Florida-based Sunburn Cannabis CEO Brady Cobb. State data show there are more than 878,000 medical marijuana card holders alone.

But “the devil is in the details,” said Cobb, noting that the Florida Legislature would likely restrict where and how people can use recreational pot if the measure passes. Medical marijuana, for example, while legal in the state, is prohibited in public.

Cobb was one of hundreds of entrepreneurs and industry leaders who gathered at the Diplomat Beach Resort in Hollywood this week, leading up to Saturday’s cannabis culture day, to talk all things weed at the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference. Exhibitors showcased vapes, rolling papers and non-alcoholic hemp-derived THC beers and sodas, which have been growing in popularity and are available at some licensed stores including Total Wine & More.

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