Assistant Attorney General of Colorado, Michael Song, was the featured guest at the Tiger Bay of Central Florida Club on Friday afternoon, to discuss his experience dealing with legalized marijuana in his state with signs pointing to an eventual future here in the Sunshine State.
“I’m not here to tell you that it’s good, I’m not here to tell you that it’s bad, I’m here to tell you that it’s here.” began Song acknowledging the different opinions in the room including law enforcement and health professionals from the region in attendance.
He ran down a list of issues in which legalized marijuana had an effect on such as the real estate business where warehouses for growing the drug were in demand, and the way it effected employment and health care in the state by changing the way each respective field had to operate under the parameters of the controversial law.
While most fields state relatively the same, there were changes in how police had to operate, such as treating the drug as personal property and the way employers and schools had to accommodate those who had medical clearance to use the drug.
One of the more notable points in the discussion included how the financial aspect of the business came into play regarding the classification of the marijuana as a schedule one drug. While the drug is generally acknowledged as less severe than “harder” drugs like cocaine, it’s classification as a schedule one narcotic was necessary to keep the medical and pharmaceutical companies from taking over the distribution or “pot shop” business by avoiding any possible medical benefits or study.
Song also noted the high expense of doing business, with the electricity bill for grow house ranging into six digits, and the federal law that prohibited many marijuana businesses from any tax relief meaning many businesses paid a tax rate as high as 60%.
There are currently 8 states in the country that have legalized marijuana with 28 states having approved the drug for medical purposes, including Florida who voted in Amendment 2 with over 70% of the vote. Those numbers along with the increasing amount of counties how have decriminalized small amounts of the drug have lead many to believe that legalization won’t be far.
Song was asked about approaching the reality here in Florida during the question-answer session.
The Assistant Attorney general recommended no artificially flavored edibles to lure younger users, and setting up licensing for Doctors who are allowed to give up drugs. He was also asked about implementation in the workplace here in the future.
“It’s about leadership. Better to start out strict and loosen up later.” he said.