Florida legislators and Governor Ron DeSantis do not appear eager to legalize recreational marijuana. A bill to do so failed last year, and Governor DeSantis (who supports medical marijuana) has indicated he believes recreational marijuana has a “detrimental effect.” Nevertheless, advocates continue to work to move recreational marijuana forward via ballot initiative, and early returns appear promising.
According to a recent article in the Tampa Bay Times, a recreational marijuana legalization ballot initiative proposed by attorney Michael Minardi has over 83,000 signatures, which is above the threshold to warrant Florida Supreme Court and financial-impact review. Assuming the proposal passes those reviews, Minardi will then need to collect a minimum of 766,200 signatures to get his initiative on the ballot. While that figure sounds daunting, Florida has over 21 million residents and a recent Quinnipiac University poll referenced in the article showed that 65% of Florida voters support fully legalizing marijuana. As such, obtaining the necessary signatures appears feasible, and if the initiative reaches the ballot, it would appear to have a strong chance of success.
The legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida would be a massive victory for the industry, and put increased pressure on the federal government to at the very least deschedule marijuana and allow states to govern that arena as they see fit. We are watching developments in Florida closely and will keep you updated on our blog.
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