Florida marijuana legalization initiative surpasses signature requirement, moves closer to 2024 ballots

by | Jun 2, 2023



  • A proposed constitutional amendment for recreational marijuana legalization in Florida has gathered enough valid signatures to be included on the 2024 ballots.
  • The campaign, led by the Smart & Safe Florida political committee, aims to allow individuals aged 21 or older to possess and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use.
  • The language of the proposed amendment still requires a review by the Florida Supreme Court, which the committee gained enough signatures to trigger in February. 
  • Attorney General Ashley Moody filed a legal challenge against the initiative, contending that it violates the state constitution. 

A proposed constitutional amendment that includes a referendum on recreational marijuana legalization on 2024 ballots in Florida procured 967,528 valid signatures as of Friday, surpassing the required number to send the proposal to voters.

The campaign, spearheaded by the Smart & Safe Florida political committee, would allow individuals aged 21 or older to “possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason.”

By mid-May, Trulieve — Florida’s largest medical marijuana distributor — contributed $38.5 million to the initiative, accounting for nearly all of the committee’s fundraising, with less than $125 coming from other sources. All but about $100,000 of the money raised by the committee has been spent on collecting and validating petition signatures.

The proposal would also allow any of the state’s 22 licensed medical marijuana operators to “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute such products and accessories.”

The committee faces a potential hiccup, however, after the Florida Supreme Court stated this week that it would potentially consider a legal challenge issued by state Attorney General Ashley Moody that contends the initiative violates that state’s constitution.

In her submission, Moody indicated that “the proposed amendment fails to meet the requirements” of specific state law. However, she withheld further details, promising “additional argument through a briefing at the appropriate time.”

According to the Florida Courts’ information system, opponents must file their briefs on or before June 12. Following the deadline, the court will subsequently determine whether to conduct oral arguments on the matter.

An ongoing Capitolist reader poll shows the ballot initiative running neck and neck, with 49.49 percent of voters in favor of recreational legalization, while 50.51 percent stand against the measure.

Moreover, according to a recent public opinion poll conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL), 70 percent of respondents expressed support for the measure, either strongly or somewhat, while 29 percent indicated opposition. The findings of this poll are consistent with previous PORL statewide polls, which have also shown high levels of support, with 76 percent in the Spring of 2022, and 64 percent in November 2019.

“Efforts to put recreational marijuana in front of voters in 2024 are in the beginning stages, but support for it is high across the political spectrum,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and professor of political science. “If it makes it onto the ballot next year, and that’s a big ‘if,’ it has a good chance of reaching the 60 percent supermajority needed to pass.”

In 2020, a campaign called Make It Legal Florida attempted to gather enough signatures to put a marijuana legalization amendment on the state’s 2020 ballot but failed to reach the minimum count.

Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016 through a ballot initiative known as Amendment 2. The initiative was approved by 71 percent of voters, making Florida one of 33 states, as well as the District of Columbia, to have legalized medical marijuana in some capacity. The initiative was sponsored by a political action committee called United for Care, which was led by Orlando attorney John Morgan.

The medical marijuana industry in Florida has had a significant economic impact, with sales exceeding $1 billion in 2020. Further, the industry’s expansion has also stimulated the real estate and construction sectors, as companies require facilities for cultivation, processing, and dispensaries, while tax revenue collected from medical marijuana sales contributes to the state’s budget and public initiatives.

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    No sales tax is collected on medical

  2. Ron Kirkland

    SAM invest a lot of money fighting against We The Peoples Initiatives? Ashley puppet stepped right up. How much money did they give her to fight the peoples strong will for legal cannabis in Florida?

  3. MH/Duuuval

    In her submission, Moody indicated that “the proposed amendment fails to meet the requirements” of specific state law. However, she withheld further details, promising “additional argument through a briefing at the appropriate time.”

    Moody’s lackeys need time to scrutinize the Constitution of 1787-89 for mention of weed.

  4. LISA C C COLBURN

    So much for the DeSantis BS re: “Free state of Florida”.

  5. SimonD

    Oh, I have a very stressful work and it makes me so angry all the time but luckily I found useful tips for growing outdoor cannabis seeds https://askgrowers.com/seeds/outdoor on that website. Now I’m thinking about buying it somewhere too because I heard that it’s the best remedy in such situations like this one. Do you agree with me guys or not? What can you tell?

 

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