Parker’s Point: Florida Needs to Light a Fire Under Cannabis Now

Parker’s Point: Florida Needs to Light a Fire Under Cannabis Now

As we head into a political transition, Floridians would do themselves well by considering the several economic and equality measures going in the wrong direction. Take a sampling of the people you know, and include a few that you don’t. I work with individuals who travel 60 to 120 miles every work day because their rural community cannot provide enough good jobs. Despite what you may be hearing, jobs created by Walmart, Circle K, and McDonald’s are not built to be family supporting jobs. That is not what recovery means or looks like. While current officials tout very select economic indicators of recovery, the Scott administration has given away billions in transportation and healthcare dollars to other states. There is literally no big plan to replace any of that in Florida, and it is conceivable this brand of leadership will let the waters rise and turn color before they do anything that will make a real difference to working class Floridians.

There is one thing we can do. If we want to stop the erosion of small towns and jump start local economies, we need a homegrown cannabis initiative. It would work like this. Florida’s least populated counties were predominately agrarian, and still are based on agriculture. Allowing the grow and sale of cannabis based products within rural counties would be an economic multiplier that no other initiative could possibly bring. Main street communities such as Quincy, Monticello, and Live Oak would suddenly become destinations for young farmers, buyers, and sellers. Support services from builders, retail, healthcare, would pop up as land value also rises. Taxation and regulation would pay for many local services, increasing the number of homegrown jobs in the process. Communities in Colorado, Washington, and California already know this where tax revenues have reached into the hundreds of millions.

This will most likely be the last big cash crop for several generations. The medicinal effects of cannabis are well documented and would allow more police focus on the kinds of drugs that are really devastating rural communities, from meth to heroin to opioids. Locals could even have some fun coming up with select names just like they do for locally grown honey, whether Yulee’s Gold, Gator Bait, or Blountstown Buzz. You get the picture.

Cannabis is one of the fastest growing industries in the nation, and instead of being controlled for the benefit of a select few, it could be the answer to many widespread economic needs. It is way past time for Floridians to take more control of the decisions that affect their communities and elect leaders that understand economic development that isn’t just predatory capitalism. If it were not for federal spending on space, environmental protection, agriculture, and military, Florida would be competing more with Mississippi than California on many economic levels. When it comes to economic development with widespread benefit, including a resurgence of abandoned rural communities, the answer could be right under our nose. We can do better.

Daniel Parker is an author, educator, and public servant. He may be reached at

15 Responses to "Parker’s Point: Florida Needs to Light a Fire Under Cannabis Now"

  1. What DK said…the hold up is figuring out how to preserve the windfall for a select few growers and to protect the contracts with the private prisons. Government told them we would keep their facilities full…how can we if we’re not locking up massive amounts of people of color for non-violent marijuana offenses? We cannot. As soon as they work out how to keep the money and keep the prisons populated we’ll see movement. Our local booking report underscores my point. How many low level drug possessions? How many are getting locked up for selling weed while the good old boys are making money selling the same exact product? As for other medicinal alternatives, nothing compares to the CURING effects of cannabis. Big Pharma cannot compete with marijuana’s results. Instead, they are also lobbying to keep it as restricted as possible while they jump in the growing and derivatives business. I also expect Big Tobacco is also lobbying to restrict the industry so they themselves can get a large portion of the coming windfall. It’s never been about saving the sick for the powers that be. The voters on the other hand want access for the sick. And the potheads want to get high. That is true, but they’ll manage either way.

  2. “We have all kinds of medicines that already do what pot is claimed to do. Give me a break.”
    @ James. I’d rather take medication from something that I can grow in my own back yard than that produced on an assembly line. I really don’t need to be taking Oxy for the rest of my life when there is a better pain med out there without the addictive qualities. I’d rather support my local farmers that Big Pharma

  3. Sorry- dropped word. Last line above should read:
    “…legalization is going to KILL far more people than it comforts….”

  4. DK – If only you would have stopped typing after the word “site.” The rest is troll speak name calling.
    I have no issues with legalization so long as we reach a point where users are fully and immediately held responsible for whatever situation they find themselves or harm they do others. I should not pay for their re-hab and they should pay dearly if they hurt someone (driving in particular.)
    I don’t think for an instant the Morgan and Morgan slipped when his first commercial said “I spent 10 million dollars to pass a law….” We have put a price on law. He is, was, and forever will be about the money and clearly the market is not only the sick. He would never recoup 10 Mil selling only to the sick. That said, when you get hurt by somebody driving, he encourages you to call him. If they are stoned thanks to the evolution of his legislation, then he just pulled off one of the greatest schemes to generate income ever played.
    Until we establish a fierce penalty for impacting others due to use, legalization is going to far more people than it comforts due to medical need.

  5. Whole-Heartedly agree Daniel. However, I wouldn’t expect much support on this site since it is heavily populated by Trump Chuds with a hate-boner for anyone left of Andrew Jackson. Colorado pretty much pays for education from the cannabis revenue now. The reason that the hateful old bigots on here disagree is because they like that prohibition puts a lot of people of color in prison. Most everyone here is a hateful baby boomer.

    1. Thank you for reading. I hope to reach some common ground on issues I write about. Cannabis, legalized just this week in Canada, is one of those areas I believe there is more concensus than disagreement if we approach it with reason and honesty.

  6. This is nothing more than a back door legalization of pot for pot heads. We have all kinds of medicines that already do what pot is claimed to do. Give me a break.

    1. Thank you for reading. The data so far has been mostly positive on legalization. You may be correct on alternatives being available. However, given the cost of alternatives, competition would most likely drive healthcare costs down and benefit everyone.

  7. I honestly do not think this initiative as laid out above is about helping the very sick among us at all.
    We already have the ability to set up low THC farming, processing, and delivery of medicinal cannabis products in the pipeline for the very sick among us.
    This is all about doping up our Nation with an easily available gateway drug which will lead to more meth heroin opioid tobacco and alcohol abuse killing more people breaking up more families filling our jails with more crime committed to get more drugs for the increasing numbers of the hopelessly addicted among us.
    Names for the easily available gateway drug like locally grown honey, Yulee’s Gold, Gator Bait, or Blountstown Buzz back up the fact this is all about doping up our Nation and ZERO about helping the very sick among us. So forget about the “helping the very sick among us” argument.
    The major benefits leftists see in the process is that a doped up nation is easier to control, easier to convince to vote for the leftist/socialist candidates, and easier to take away constitutional rights from such as guns, speech, ect…yeah you know what I’m talking about.
    Lord knows leftist/socialist candidates have had and will continue to have major problems getting elected with a sober intelligent population that makes up a highly motivated and productive work force.
    Leftist/socialist chances of regaining and keeping political power will increase dramatically with a doped up lazy un-motivated non-productive population high as a fly on locally grown honey, Yulee’s Gold, Gator Bait, or Blountstown Buzz and the harder stuff the gateway effect will bring on.

    1. Thank you for reading. This can be an emotional issue. I tried to present it in a way to consider the greater economic benefit for impoverished areas of the state. I see no alternative of scale. We also have more significant drug related problems to consider than marijuana. The data so far from the Northwest of the country has been economically positive. I have had some concern related to law enforcement and legalization but I believe the merits would greatly outweigh the negatives.

        1. LOL, not you, Snidely.

          But, I suppose it is possible you do not believe Snidely to be the dumbest person on the Internet. Perhaps you have run into dumber. I mean, I am able to conceptualize that idea that other people have different ideas than I do, and it does not by necessity make them the other, the enemy, or a brand of ‘isms’ to be ridiculed.

          I enjoyed your article quite a bit.

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