It doesn't seem like Florida will be getting left behind in the race to the midterm ballots for cannabis reforms. Marijuana advocates in the state are working behind the scenes to push for the decriminalization of adult-use cannabis within the state.
They successfully filed a petition with the state some weeks ago for permission to start gathering signatures to support the proposed recreational measure. The submitted portion got approved some days ago, and now the real work can begin.
This means that, In 2022, Florida could be one of the states to approve the use, possession, and sale of recreational cannabis in the United States of America.
The Use of Ballot Initiatives
Ballot actions for cannabis reforms seem to be the latest trend. States like Arizona, Montana, South Dakota, and New Jersey have successfully pushed their adult-use legislation through the ballot initiative. It is more popular with states who are/were in the process of legalizing medical cannabis.
In the U.S general elections, registered voters in some states decided on the future of their states' cannabis industry, whether or not to approve the use of marijuana in the state.
With the high success rates of ballot initiatives, lawmakers have taken to dismissing pending petitions before it gets to the ballots. Most times, the language used in the draft bills is questioned and used as the main reason to kick the measures out.
Florida marijuana advocates have tried severally in the last years to push the recreational cannabis decriminalization decision to registered voters in the state, however, it has not succeeded. The most recent failure occurred earlier this year when the Supreme Court shot down a similar version of the just submitted petition.
A Regulated Cannabis Industry In Florida
The measure is being handled by a group of cannabis advocates named "Regulate Florida". The team is leading the campaign with a firm resolve to ensure the bill gets the support it needs to be approved.
The proposed bill will decriminalize the use and possession of cannabis for recreational purposes. Florida residents and visitors who are 21 years and above will be permitted to use and possess marijuana products.
An appreciated provision in the bill states that cannabis users will be authorized to plant at most nine cannabis plants for personal use. A household will be entitled to a maximum of 18 plant stands (this may reduce before the law is passed). However, this bill does not approve the production of cannabis for retail purposes. Anyone caught doing so without a business license risks being sentenced to jail.
Regulate Florida says that this bill has not been created for retail marijuana.
Challenges to jump through
Nothing is meant to be straightforward, especially not cannabis legislation processes.
To endure the measure is on the ballot in the elections next year, Regulate Florida has to overcome some unavoidable obstacles.
First, the group has to secure and gather the required signatures promptly, because the window given for this is very small. Without these signatures, the process might fall through. The first round of signatures gathering ned to collate about 222,900 signatures from authentic Florida residents who are also duly registered as voters.
Once the first round of accumulated signatures has been used to issue a judicial and fiscal impact review, the organizers will get to work once again to gather over 891,580 signatures to push the measure to the ballot.
The cannabis advocates have disclosed that they are having a hard time getting over the first hoop. No one knows why the state attorney general requested for a judicial review of previous legalization initiatives, but a few suspect that it was to slow the campaign down. Potting together this judicial review is proving to be very complex because previous initiatives are just in form of failed briefs that were used to oppose petitions. One thing is sure, the chances of the measure being thrown out this time based on the use of misleading language are next to nothing.
What are the odds
The chances of this bill accumulating the support it needs to be approved at the ballots are quite reasonable.
A recent poll shows that about 59 percent of the population of Florida voters are in support of recreational cannabis decriminalization. 59 percent is a little bit on the lower side, now the group of cannabis advocates will have to strive hard to convince more voters on the usefulness of the bill.
Once the ballot has been placed on the ballot successfully, another task of making sure Florida voters show up for the midterm elections begins. It has become natural for a while percentage of Americans do not show up for midterm elections, the presidential election years see the highest turnout, and thi is expected.
Enough registered voters have to be cajoled to come out during the midterm elections to approve the bill and make it law.
Micheal Minarda, a campaign manager in the Regulate Florida group has said that approving the bill at the ballot should be smooth. He supported this statement by saying that quite a lot of people are willing and ready for recreational laws.
Time is Short
The group is calling in Florida residents to help spread the word and also send in their signed copy of the petition as soon as possible.
The only way this measure can become law next year is if everyone party involved works together to keep the ball moving. As was mentioned earlier, the window duration made available for the first round of signature collection is limited, so the best time for you and yours to send in your petitions Now.
Regulate Florida is trying so hard for this initiative not to go down the same way Make it Legal Florida did. This is why it has considered all the mistakes the previous groups made and is making sure the new initiative does not make the same.
The goal now is to overcome the restrictive signature-gathering criteria and get to the finish line, which in this case is the 2022 election ballots.