Florida Petitions for Recreational Marijuana Still Short on Signatures

Multiple petition drives are underway to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida.EXPAND
Multiple petition drives are underway to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida.
Photo by Karli Evans
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The tide is changing across the nation and now in the Sunshine State: Almost two-thirds of Florida voters say they support legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use. Three major ballot initiatives are gathering signatures in an attempt to put legalization on the ballot in the 2020 election.

So far, just one of the three petitions has passed the first hurdle of obtaining at least 76,632 verified signatures. None of the three has reached the second milestone: a state-level judicial and financial impact review. After that, any one petition would have to collect 766,200 signatures certified by the state elections office by February 1 to send an amendment before voters next year — a pretty tight deadline considering it's already November.

Each of the three petitions would effectively make recreational use of marijuana legal in the state for people aged 21 and older, similar to alcohol. Supporters of recreational marijuana are hopeful voters will see at least one of the three ballot initiatives next year. Here's a breakdown of what's happening with each of the petition drives:

Regulate Florida
So far, this petition has gathered 92,562 valid signatures statewide. That number qualifies the petition for a judicial and financial impact review. Already, the initiative has completed its financial impact statement. But organizers still need to accumulate 766,200 signatures to secure a ballot position. You can sign the petition at regulateflorida.com.

Regulate Florida seeks to establish 21 as the legal age at which individuals can grow and use cannabis. The state would also adopt regulations for how to issue, renew, suspend, and revoke licenses for those growing cannabis, manufacturing cannabis products, testing those products, and operating retail facilities where the products are sold.

Regulate Florida is the only petition to have reached the first hurdle of at least 76,632 signatures. It's one of two petitions, along with Floridians for Freedom, that would allow Floridians to grow cannabis at home.

Make It Legal Florida
This petition is making solid ground but still has yet to clear its first hurdle for judicial review, with only 69,080 valid signatures so far. To download and sign this petition, visit makeitlegalflorida.com.

Make It Legal Florida would allow adults aged 21 or older to possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use. The initiative would also permit treatment centers to sell, distribute, and dispense marijuana and paraphernalia.

As part of the initiative, it would be illegal to advertise marijuana to those younger than 21. Additionally, marijuana could not be used in public places.

Make It Legal Florida claims to have already gathered more than 100,000 signatures, but thousands of them have not been verified. Organizers still have quite a ways to go to make it onto the 2020 ballot.

Critics say Make It Legal Florida would create a monopoly within the cannabis industry, but it is also the petition with the most funding thanks to big-name backers such as Surterra Wellness and MedMen.

Floridians for Freedom
Among the three petitions, Floridians for Freedom is lagging, with only 21,430 valid signatures statewide as of this week — far from the first milestone of 76,632 votes. You can support it by signing the petition at floridafreedomgroup.com.

Floridians for Freedom wants to guarantee people aged 21 or older the right to possess, use, and cultivate cannabis. The state would still have the power to regulate purchases in the interest of health and safety.

Though Floridians for Freedom has the fewest restrictions when it comes to cannabis use, critics point out it is also the poorest funded and therefore has the smallest chance of making it onto the 2020 ballot. Like Regulate Florida, this petition would allow Floridians to grow cannabis at home.

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