- Trulieve, a cannabis company, has pledged an additional $8 million to the Smart & Safe Florida ballot initiative, bringing its total contributions to $38.5 million. The initiative aims to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida.
- The initiative is close to reaching its signature threshold, with 786,702 validated signatures out of the goal of 891,523. If successful, the proposal will be placed on the November 2024 ballot.
- Despite Trulieve’s significant financial backing, opposition to the legalization campaign, including law enforcement and health care professionals, remains relatively dormant. Governor Ron DeSantis has expressed sympathy towards decriminalization but has concerns about full legalization’s impact on Florida’s image.
The effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida recently got a fresh injection of cash from Trulieve, which has pledged an additional $8 million to a ballot initiative known as Smart & Safe Florida. The April funding was confirmed in a financial report released Wednesday on the state Division of Elections website.
By the end of April, Trulieve’s total contributions to Smart & Safe Florida amounted to a staggering $38.5 million, accounting for nearly all of the committee’s fundraising. Less than $125 has come from other sources. All but about $100,000 of the money raised by the committee ($38.4 million), has been spent on collecting and validating petition signatures. As of Wednesday, the validated signatures totaled 786,702, nearing the goal of 891,523 with plenty of time to spare.
The signature threshold must be met in order for Smart & Safe Florida to place the “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana” proposal on the November 2024 ballot. If passed, the measure would permit adults aged 21 and over to possess, purchase, or use marijuana for non-medical purposes, echoing a constitutional amendment approved by Florida voters in 2016 that widely authorized medical marijuana.
Despite the considerable financial backing from Trulieve, opposition to the legalization campaign remains relatively dormant. Anticipated adversaries such as law enforcement, health care professionals, and a substantial segment of the business community, have yet to mobilize, even in the face of significant implications for the state.
Governor Ron DeSantis, the state’s top Republican, has previously expressed sympathy towards efforts to decriminalize marijuana, but remains wary of full legalization, citing concerns over its potential impact on Florida’s family-friendly image.
With Trulieve’s fervent campaign to get the issue on the 2024 ballot, state lawmakers are left with little direct influence over the outcome. However, if the proposal passes, a complex regulatory process would follow to integrate the constitutional amendment with existing state laws and business regulations.
The business community, particularly those involved in hospitality and tourism, are among those most concerned about the potential implications of legalization. They cite fears of increased workplace safety risks, potential declines in employee productivity, enforcement of drug-free workplace policies, and potential reputational damage.
Nonetheless, proponents of legalization argue that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol and its legalization could serve as a significant revenue source. Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers has estimated that if the ballot initiative passes, Florida’s recreational marijuana market could be worth as much as $6 billion annually.