Florida marijuana legalization campaign is Trulieve monopoly push, state says

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A Trulieve Cannabis Corp.-sponsored marijuana legalization campaign in Florida is actually an effort to mislead voters into helping tighten the company’s “monopolistic stranglehold” on the state’s cannabis market, the state attorney general alleged in court filings this week.

Trulieve is the main sponsor behind the Smart & Safe Florida campaign, and the Tallahassee-based multistate operator has contributed nearly all of the $40 million behind the effort to put adult-use legalization on the November 2024 ballot.

Standing in Trulieve’s way are anti-drug advocates, the state Chamber of Commerce and Attorney General Ashley Moody, all of whom are attempting to convince the state Supreme Court to declare the proposed ballot measure unconstitutional.

Earlier this summer, the campaign submitted more than 900,000 signatures from registered voters, more than enough to qualify the measure, according to Miami TV station WFOR.

Opponents sued to block it, arguing that the initiative covers too many subjects as well as potentially tricking voters.

According to WFOR, state Solicitor General Henry Whitaker argued in court filings Wednesday that the “carefully curated ballot summary misleads in ways that, though sometimes subtle, are likely to influence voters – and to do so in a way that entrenches the sponsor’s monopolistic stranglehold on the marijuana market to the detriment of Floridians.”

“In its pursuit of a larger customer base and greater profits, Trulieve has invited millions of Floridians to join it in reckless violation of federal criminal law,” Whitaker continued.

“The initiative should be stricken.”

Only existing medical marijuana operators would be allowed to enter the adult-use market unless the state Legislature amends state law to allow more licenses, Whitaker’s brief added.

Both Trulieve and the Smart & Safe campaign pushed back, calling the ballot language “strict and conservative” and “easy-to-understand,” WFOR reported.

Trulieve operates about one-quarter of Florida’s 475 MMJ dispensaries, MJBizDaily reported last September.