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Florida For Care ‘web of influence’ raises questions, concerns about recreational marijuana

in Peter/Top Headlines by

Florida for Care, the group that led the effort to pass Amendment 2 last year, continues to insist its support for expanding medical marijuana in Florida is in no way related to recreational use.

For marijuana opponents, however, that simply doesn’t cut it.

Their claim is that Florida for Care is trying to find a pathway to recreational use instead of helping those patients who need medical marijuana.

And as justification for their concerns, some point to the Florida for Care website, which features several sponsors looking to encourage marijuana beyond just medical purposes.

Businesses, industry groups, and individuals seeking to expand medical marijuana laws in Florida are all linked to organizations supporting recreational use of marijuana, and all are looking to profit from the industry or make access to cannabis easier.

And at the center of this “web of influence” is Florida for Care, as the main organizing group pushing for expanded marijuana access, including legalization for recreational use, in Florida.

As such, critics of expanding medical marijuana in the state have three questions for Florida For Care.

The first: If Florida for Care has no interest in promoting recreational marijuana, why would the group actively promote a social media platform devoted to just that?

On the Florida for Care website is MassRoots, listed as one of the organization’s “best sponsors.”

MassRoots is a social media platform for marijuana users and was founded for the purpose of allowing individuals to advocate for recreational use in a “semi-anonymous” fashion.

MassRoots had been removed from the Apple app store for violating the company’s policy prohibiting all cannabis apps, only later to be reinstated after pressure from the National Cannabis Association and The ArcView Group.

The next question concerns the Drug Policy Alliance, also considered one of Florida for Care’s best supporters.

The Alliance has actively publicized its involvement in the campaign to legalize recreational use in California. On the Alliance website, the group claims its efforts “paved the way” for “recent victories” in legalization in Washington, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C.

This leads critics to ask: is a connection between the Alliance and Florida for Care actually a vehicle for efforts to, once again, promote recreational use in Florida?

Finally, another of Florida for Care’s chief supporters is Greenspoon Marder, a South Florida law firm with a burgeoning cannabis practice.

With a primary office in Fort Lauderdale, Greenspoon Marder has expanded in the past year to include locations in Denver, San Diego and Las Vegas, all key areas in the expanding cannabis industry.

On its own website, Greenspoon Marder highlights recreational use becoming a major part of its practice. Firm co-founder Gerry Greenspoon has even launched the Organization for Safe Cannabis Regulation (OSCR), a separate group aimed at expanding the marijuana industry in Florida.

This tacit endorsement begs the third question: If Greenspoon Marder stands to profit from recreational marijuana use — beyond that of simply expanding medical marijuana — and it already supports recreational use in other states, isn’t it reasonable to assume they would push licensing to open the door for recreational use?

While the Florida for Care effort has been primarily geared toward helping those suffering from debilitating illnesses, these three questions about its web of influence raise eyebrows as to what is the real end game for marijuana in Florida.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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