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Study says medical marijuana could be a $1.6B industry in Florida

New Frontier Data looks to 2020

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Florida’s future cash crop could be medical marijuana.

The business is getting ready to boom with the passage of Amendment 2, and some are predicting big bucks for the industry.

Researchers with New Frontier Data – a cannabis market research company – are high on the cash projections for Florida cannabis.

The New Frontier study said that by 2020, medical cannabis could be a $1.6 billion industry in Florida. That’s also good for the state’s bottom line.

“Seven percent sales tax, so it’s going to certainly generate some sales-tax revenue for the state,” said Jeff Sharkey, one of the founders of the Florida Medical Marijuana Business Association.

Sharkey and fellow founder Taylor Bieh said they aren’t surprised at the predictions, now that Amendment 2 has passed.

The Florida Legislature still has a role in implementing Amendment 2, and many are wondering what the lawmakers’ next move will be.

“We will defend and protect the people’s right, and they’ve spoken loudly and clearly and overwhelmingly,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, the House speaker-designate. “The second thing we’ll do is protect the state.”

Added Sharkey, “The legislators want to say, ‘Let’s do this right. Let’s do this so it’s safe, accountable, and it’s also available and affordable.’”

Because of the state's population and the expanded patient pool, Florida could make up nearly 10 percent of the legal cannabis market in the United States.

While $1 billion certainly isn’t chump change, the state’s top industry -- tourism -- is worth more than $80 billion.