Florida had an estimated 2.5 million cannabis consumers in 2018.
If Florida approves recreational marijuana in the November 2020 election, the number of jobs related to hemp and cannabis could increase more than sevenfold by 2025.
The prediction comes from a new study conducted by New Frontier Data.
“Assuming full federal legalization, New Frontier Data estimates cannabis jobs could reach 128,587 by 2025,” says John Kagia, chief knowledge officer at the D.C.-based research group. That’s up dramatically from the state’s current number of cannabis jobs, which Kagia says is at 16,792.
New York, which implemented its medical marijuana program over year before Florida, has fewer than half the patients although the number of prescribing doctors is similar, according to the data.
Florida will go big
As such, Florida is also predicted to snag at least 12 percent of the county’s projected $30 billion dollar legal market by 2025. As of 2018, New Frontier says, Florida had an estimated 2.5 million cannabis consumers, defined as legal adults who reported using a weed product at least once in the past year.
Already a booming market
The Sunshine State also has the fastest-growing MMJ program in the country, with more than 270,000 people enrolled, and 10,000-plus signing up every month. Fully 68% of Florida voters chose to support legal medical cannabis when they approved a Constitutional Amendment in 2016.
About 65 percent of Florida voters support legal recreational pot, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released in June 2019.
The types of jobs being created in the cannabis industry vary in skill levels and types of work.
“[T]he types of jobs have actually benefited a wide range of groups of workers: lower-skilled labor roles such as trimmers or budtenders, [plus] higher-skilled workers like extraction tech, chemists, and other manufacturers dealing with edibles,” said Kagia of New Frontier.
David Hasenauer, a cannabis policy expert based in Fort Lauderdale, said the industry’s success will depend on the state’s willingness to legalize recreational use. If it’s approved, the sky’s the limit.
Grassroots petitions already gaining ground
A petition drive to legalize recreational marijuana, started in early October has already gathered 100,000 signatures in less than two weeks. The goal is to put the legalization question before Florida voters in next year’s election, said Nick Hansen, chairman of Make It Legal Florida, the group circulating the petition.
Another group, Regulate Florida, is also circulating a petition that would legalize marijuana. Unlike Make It Legal’s proposal, Regulate Florida is pushing to allow Floridians to grow their own marijuana.
“Our whole goal is to give this plant back to the people,” said Michael Minardi, an attorney who is leading the Regulate Florida effort.
Either way, polls in Florida concur that support for legalization is at an all-time high.