TALLAHASSEE — Folks in Florida might think their pot-smoking pals in Massachusetts are a bunch of crybabies.
Six months after marijuana became legal in the Bay State, purveyors of pot and their advocates are kvetching after a July 1 rollout date, self-imposed by Massachusetts officials, came and went without the advent of retail sales for recreational use.
But, by Sunshine State standards, a six-month turnaround seems pretty speedy.
Florida voters in November 2016 passed a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana. But an October 2017 deadline to license new vendors — a deadline later modified by state lawmakers — elapsed nine months ago, and Florida pot czar Christian Bax has yet to begin processing new applications from medical marijuana firms.
Bax and other state health officials are fending off nearly a dozen administrative and legal challenges as interested parties seek to plant a footprint or defend their territory in Florida’s blossoming marijuana industry — estimated by some market analysts to generate $1 billion by 2020.
Carl Sagan, the astronomer who was the gateway to the cosmos for amateur astronomers and the generally curious public, also earned a reputation as a marijuana advocate in an era when the legalization of cannabis seemed as far off as the “billions and billions” of stars Sagan brought into the living rooms of television viewers.
“The illegality of