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Passing the Torch

Who should lead the Office of Medical Marijuana Use?

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The recurrent theme of summer 2018 was of transition, in almost every conceivable form. Lots of talented people are moving into the next phases of their careers. One of them is Christian Bax, the embattled former founding majordomo of medical marijuana in the state of Florida. He stepped down in August; his deputy Courtney Coppola will serve as interim director, and a permanent appointment will be made by either Andrew Gillum or Ron DeSantis.

As director of the Office of Medical Marijuana Use, Bax was tasked with implementing the intentionally vague and ambiguous mandates of Amendment 2, and he fared well under untenable conditions. His office was accused of sandbagging the bureaucracy and slowing the rate of new cards being issued, but they still registered more than 150,000 people under his watch, helping generate nearly $20 million in 2017 alone, and probably that much already this year. (Christmas is coming.)

Bax bequeaths a legacy of explosive job growth, millions in economic stimulus guaranteed up and down the state for years to come, and a significant expansion of civil liberties for Floridians. Medical marijuana is still a daisy-fresh gimmick whose commercial value is being defined, but his successor will inherit a pretty strong infrastructure with a growing cadre of patients and many vendors lining up to service them. But who will that person be? It’s an appointed position, so the governor has free reign to think outside the box. There are no obvious front-runners so far, but I can immediately think of three people who would be perfect for the job (other than me):

1.) John Morgan’s singular role in this issue makes him the obvious first choice. He possesses institutional knowledge of the issue that even government can’t access, and he would certainly know how to maximize the taxpayers’ investment, which is due to increase tenfold. He’d never take the gig, and the resulting pay cut, but a Gillum victory means he might be asked, anyway.

2.) Roger Stone, who’s pushed for full legalization while manifesting right-wing shenanigans that give progressives the night sweats, would be the perfect candidate for DeSantis, who presumably will continue in the style of Rick Scott. But if Trump flips on the issue, and/or DeSantis gets a libertarian itch, Stone would be someone the hippies and hipsters could do business with–oodles.

3.) Danielle Bregoli is 15 years old, and is therefore disqualified from contention, and that’s probably best for all those involved. “Cash me ousside” went viral, and she parlayed living meme status into a multimillion-dollar gimmick and several rap songs that are legitimately awesome. More so than perhaps anyone else alive, “Bhad Bhabie” IS Florida Woman in the eyes of the world right now, and optics are important. I mean, she drives a truck custom-made to look like a Gucci flip-flop; checkmate.

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