Florida Puts Off Ballot Measure To Legalize Recreational Marijuana Until 2022
A group pushing a constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana legal in Florida said this week that it is no longer pushing to add the issue to this year’s ballot and instead will focus their efforts on 2022.
Florida is lagging behind other states in pushing for legalization. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states: Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, California, Alaska and, most recently, Illinois.
Eight other states may vote on the issue this year: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and South Dakota.
The postponed campaign, known as Make It Legal Florida, had the backing of major medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.
Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, told the Sun Sentinel that the ballot initiative received over 700,000 signatures, but the time frame to submit and verify the signatures was too tight for the committee.
In Illinois, marijuana was legalized via legislative action — not through a ballot initiative. However, bills in the Florida state House and Senate have thus far failed to gain widespread support.
State Sen. Jeff Brandes (R-St. Petersburg) filed a bill Monday that would legalize marijuana for adult use and would allow growers to contract with processors and retailers. A companion bill in the Florida House was also filed.
The Florida attorney general, as well as House and Senate leaders, asked the State Supreme Court to reject the proposals. They argued the wording of the two petitions would not inform voters that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.