Support Medical Marijuana Card Reciprocity In Florida
Support Medical Marijuana Card Reciprocity In Florida
Why this petition matters
Because Compassion Shouldn’t Stop At The Border
Florida’s medical marijuana program is humming along nicely with an estimated $1.3 billion in sales last year — the third-highest tally in the country for 2021. The state also added roughly 15,000 cannabis jobs in 2020 alone. More than 31,000, Floridians are now employed in the medical marijuana market.
As encouraging as that is, the Sunshine State is not only selling itself short in terms of medical marijuana sales and tax collections, it’s also leaving some people out while holding back the state’s bread and butter industry — tourism.
Why do we have a medical marijuana program in Florida? The answer, in one word, is compassion.
If people who are suffering can find some measure of relief from cannabis, and there’s really no harm done by it, then denying out-of-state patients access to medical marijuana in Florida is heartless and cruel.
If we are compassionate enough as a state to offer relief to our own residents, then how can we turn our backs and not offer compassion to visitors to our fair state?
How Would Marijuana Card Reciprocity Work In Florida?
Medical marijuana doctors in Florida have a list of qualifying conditions for which they may approve a patient for a Florida medical marijuana card. The last bullet point on that list effectively states that doctors are permitted to use their own judgment. If they feel a patient with some other condition that’s not on the list can benefit from using medical marijuana they can approve the application.
If the list of qualifying medical conditions is open-ended here in Florida, then there’s no need to restrict particular states from reciprocity based on their list of qualifying conditions. If the patient has been approved for medical marijuana card by a doctor in another state then they could theoretically be approved here as well.
This doesn’t mean that Florida should offer reciprocity to every U.S. state with a medical marijuana program. There might be some logical exceptions such as states that only permit the use of low-THC or hemp-derived products. States like Texas, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky would most likely not take kindly to Florida offering medical grade THC marijuana products including cannabis concentrates to their citizens.
On the other hand, patients in more relaxed states such as California, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Oklahoma, Nevada, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Ohio, Missouri, Pennsylvania, and many others that don’t regulate the amount of THC in their medical marijuana products would qualify for a temporary out-of-state Florida medical marijuana card.
The Financial Benefits Of Reciprocation
Extending compassion to out-of-state medical marijuana card patients creates a win-win situation here in Florida.
First, Florida wins because it gains vacationers and snowbirds that spend a lot of money. Medical marijuana patients across the nation win because they will have access to the medicine they need. This means they’ll now have the option of vacationing in our beautiful Sunshine State.
Just how much of a win would this be for Florida? Let’s crunch some numbers.
According to data provided by ChampionTraveller.com, rounded off, the average price of a 7-day trip for a group of people is between $4,000 and $7,000 (even higher if all four are adults).
Another source, VacationKids.com, says if the group is on a Disney vacation, they can expect to spend a little over $200 per day per person for expenses such as hotel, park passes, and food. For a one-week vacation to Disney World, that’s a total spend of over $5,000 for a family of four.
According to numbers provided at TampaBay.com, Florida attracted more than 130 million travelers in 2019. Hypothetically, if offering reciprocity can increase that number by 0.1% (that’s one extra visitor per thousand), that would mean 130,000 additional visitors.
At $5,000 per family of four, that would be over $162 million dollars spent here in Florida. Tax rates vary in Florida. Assuming around a 7% tax rate (lodging tax, dining tax, sales tax, etc.) that’s more than $11 million in let’s call it sales tax revenue.
That might not sound like a lot. But add on top of that corporate taxes paid by companies in the state that host those travelers and the taxes paid when the rising number of employees of those companies spend their paychecks.
There’s also the goodwill and free advertising generated by the 130,000 additional visitors posting on social medial about their glorious Florida vacation reaching millions of friends and followers. That’s free advertising. Let’s just say their posts reach 1.3 million people. At a standard advertising response rate of 1%, that’s an additional 13,000 visitors.
Add on top of that any money spent at Florida dispensaries. According to FlowHub.com, about 25% of cannabis products sold nationwide are purchased by out-of-state customers. It would be a stretch to say Florida would sell one-third more medical marijuana if reciprocity were offered, however, even a five or ten percent increase in cannabis sales would be substantial — something in the area of $25 to $50 million in additional annual sales.
And we’re still not done. Let’s say the state charges $75 for a temporary out-of-state medical marijuana card. That’s 130,000 visitors times $75 or another nearly $10 million in the state’s war chest.
Of course, these numbers are all just best guestimates. There are probably a hundred ways this could be modeled and the numbers could vary wildly. However, under the bottom line is a big enough number that when combined with the compassion factor makes reciprocity a total no-brainer for Florida.
The Ability For Floridians To Use Their Medical Cards In Other States?
The reciprocal scenario is also important. Let’s say a Florida resident with a medical marijuana card wants to travel either for business or pleasure to any other state in the U.S. Unless it’s one of the 17 that offer recreational marijuana, and unless they’re 21-plus, they’re out of luck.
How To Make MedCard Reciprocity Work In Florida?
If you want to help extend compassion to out-of-state medical marijuana patients and Florida residents that travel while helping to boost tourism in the state of Florida:
- Add your name to this petition - it doesn't matter what state you live in.
- Please post on your social media.
- If you live in Florida, you can also get more involved by contacting your local representatives and senators directly.