Cannabis companies are increasingly lobbying in Florida, as legalization campaigns pick up steam and contributions. Cannabis businesses spent an estimated $330,000 last quarter on lobbying in Florida, compensation reports show.
From July 1 to Sept. 30, Atlanta-based Parallel (formerly Surterra) paid roughly $95,000 to lobbyists. Parallel, which operates 36 dispensaries across the state, is the second largest cannabis company in Florida. The organization also poured $535,000 last month into an adult use legalization ballot initiative, Make It Legal Florida, campaign records show. That brings the total amount the company has contributed to the campaign to $1.6 million. It’s one of two adult use campaigns pushing to make the ballot. Make It Legal Florida is backed by big industry names, including MedMen. The other, Regulate Florida, is backed by grassroots advocacy groups, such as NORML of Florida.
Lobbyists are required to report income in $10,000 increments. Cannabis Wire uses the median number in each range (e.g. $1-$9,999 is counted as $5,000).
The Pharm, a cannabis producer operating under the Sunday Goods brand, sunk around $50,000 into the Sunshine State last quarter.
Cansortium, which is headquartered in Miami and operates the Fluent dispensaries, amassed approximately $35,000 in lobbying fees. The company hopes to open four new stores by the end of 2019, bringing its total number of dispensaries to 20.
Green Thumb Industries and Curaleaf each logged an estimated $30,000 lobbying bill. Curaleaf, at 26 dispensaries, is Florida’s third largest cannabis business. GTI operates a cultivation center and five retail locations, but is planning to open 30 more throughout the state.
Both AltMed, which has opened two new dispensaries in Florida since October, and Cannalysis, a testing laboratory in Southern California, paid lobbyists an estimated $10,000.
A number of other cannabis-related businesses spent roughly $5,000 on lobbyists, including Cresco Labs (formerly VidaCann), Greenwich Biosciences, the Florida Hemp Industries Association and the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.