Friday, October 18, 2019
Florida Has Two Initiatives to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
Currently, two cannabis advocacy groups are working to gather signatures of support for two separate legalization initiatives. If both or either of them get enough signatures, they will be on the 2020 ballot.
So far, neither initiative has gathered enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. But already, lawmakers in the state are taking notice of this grassroots activity. And many of them are preparing to respond to the growing call for legalization.
Florida Currently Has Two Legalization Initiatives
One of the two legalization initiatives now circulating around Florida is being spearheaded by advocacy group Make It Legal Florida.
This one calls for an amendment to the Florida State Constitution. If it passes, this initiative would legalize marijuana for all adults 21 years and up. Additionally, it would reportedly require distribution to go through channels already established in the state’s current medical marijuana program.
According to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Make It Legal Florida has received more than $1.2 million in supporting funding. To date, this initiative has not received enough signatures to qualify for next year’s ballot.
Although Make It legal Florida has not gotten enough signatures yet, the group is trying to make it as easy as possible for voters to sign on.
“We are making it easier than ever for Florida voters to make their voices heard,” chairman of Make It Legal Florida Nick Hansen told the Sun Sentinel. “Pre-qualified Florida voters will receive a personalized mail piece with their name and address already printed on the form so all they have to do is sign, date and return.”
In addition to this initiative, there is another legalization proposal circulating through the state. This one is being spearheaded by advocacy group Regulate Florida.
This group’s proposal would also legalize recreational weed for adults 21 and older. Additionally, and unlike Make It Legal Florida’s initiative, this proposal would also make it legal for adults to grow their own cannabis.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Regulate Florida has gathered roughly 88,000 signatures for its proposal. Under Florida law, an initiative like this needs over 766,200 signatures to be placed on the ballot.
Lawmakers Are Taking Notice
Currently, neither of these initiatives has enough signatures to make it onto next year’s ballot. But they are receiving enough popular support to grab the attention of lawmakers in the state.
Earlier today, local news source Click Orlando reported that the House Health & Human Services Committee spent more than an hour talking about the initiatives.
Specifically, state lawmakers talked about the importance of understanding legalization and having a clear stance on the issue.
“We’re all going to be asked by our constituents where are we on this,” Committee Chair Representative Ray Rodrigues said. “We need to be equipped to take a position and articulate why we’ve taken that position.”
During the meeting, lawmakers heard from opponents and supporters of legalization. Ultimately, the meeting made clear that ongoing movements to legalize weed in Florida are picking up momentum.
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