Floridians are one step closer to being able to vote on legalizing marijuana for adult use in 2020 as the activist group Regulate Florida has reached their first signature goal. The group has been circulating petitions for years as they were originally aiming for the 2018 ballot, but the activists changed their goal – instead trying to get on the ballot in 2020 – and have been steadily working to gather and validate signatures. Finally, they have gathered enough valid signatures that they have triggered a Supreme Court review of their ballot language – a first step to reaching the voters.
“This is a MILESTONE in Florida and WE ARE DEDICATED TO GETTING THIS ON THE BALLOT IN 2020!!!” Regulate Florida board members wrote in an email to supporters. “We have a long way to go to get it on the ballot but we will GET IT DONE TOGETHER!!!”
Currently, the group has collected 77,891 validated signatures, according to the state Division of Elections. Assuming the Supreme Court approves the language of their initiative, they will need to collect a total of 776,200 validated signatures by February 1st for voters to see it on the ballot in 2020.
If we get that far, then the amendment would require a 60 percent vote in order to become law Currently, polls from as recently as June suggest that 65 percent of voters in Florida are in favor of ending prohibition and legalizing cannabis for adult use. However, that doesn’t mean this will necessarily translate to the same percentage on Election Day when you take into account the actual number of voters who will show up at the polls.
Regulate Florida’s amendment would allow Floridian adults 21 and older to grow, buy and use cannabis. It would also legalize a regulated and taxed industry, like alcohol sales. The campaign is also pointing out that by allowing adults to grow at home, it would make it possible for patients to grow their own cannabis – something that was left out of Amendment 2 and has not been considered by the legislature as something they might implement on their own.
For now, Regulate Florida has the best shot at legalizing cannabis for Floridians in 2020 as they have made the most progress when gathering signatures. Another group with a very different legalization initiative, known as Floridians for Freedom, has collected 24,567 voter signatures as of earlier this week – far from the necessary signatures to reach Supreme Court review, let alone the February 1 deadline. Unfortunately for both groups, reaching this goal will be expensive and not an easy task – but not impossible either.
Are Florida voters prepared to end prohibition and legalize marijuana for adult use? It’s tough to say. Polls aren’t always accurate when compared to voter turnout and there is still a huge signature goal to reach before that can even happen. At this point, it’s a waiting game and an uphill battle for the activists circulating petitions around the state.