Cannabis advocates in Florida

Florida Cannabis Advocates Back Adult-Use Legalization Campaign

Despite the fact that medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016, cannabis advocates have not come close to achieving the same with respect to recreational marijuana.

Adult-use cannabis advocates have launched a new campaign in Florida to legalize cannabis use for adults. The effort is backed by the state’s largest medical cannabis company, Trulieve. The first ad by Smart and Safe Florida to be published featured country music stars, the Bellamy Brothers.

According to Miami New Times, “Just last year, the Florida Supreme Court struck down two separate marijuana initiatives over misleading language, despite the signatures of thousands who’d pledged support for a constitutional amendment.”

One of those initiatives, sponsored by Make It Legal, had gathered 600,000 of the 900,000 required signatures to make the ballot. The second initiative fell far short. But the court’s ruling makes it virtually impossible for a marijuana initiative in 2022, given the tight timeline to garner the required signatures

According to Ganjapeneur, “Medical cannabis company Trulieve is contributing $5 million toward the effort to put the measure on 2024 ballots. Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers told the News Service of Florida that the amendment is “all about improving access.”  

Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, says that legalization is all about making sure that everyone has access to cannabis. “We came into this with a mission to provide access to high-quality products that are safe and have an appropriate value proposition to give folks control over their—in the original days—medical journey,” Rivers told News Service of Florida. “I don’t think that changes here. I mean, in effect we are at our core about expanding the opportunity for access to safe legal products, which is what this would allow us to continue to do.”

The proposed constitutional amendment petition language reads: 

“Allows adults 21 years or older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise; allows Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and other state-licensed entities, to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute such products and accessories. Applies to Florida law; does not change, or immunize violations of, federal law. Establishes possession limits for personal use. Allows consistent legislation. Defines terms. Provides an effective date.” 

The law would also change Florida’s current “medical marijuana treatment centers” so they can “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute such products and accessories.” Since 2016, the law has required medical cannabis businesses to be vertically integrated. This means they had to grow, process, and dispense their own product. The new amendment would make it easier for smaller entrepreneurs to enter the industry.

If the amendment makes it on the ballot and is approved by voters, Florida would become the 20th state to legalize recreational cannabis use.

According to High Times, the petition would need 900,000 valid signatures in order to make the ballot.

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