Legal Recreational Cannabis in Florida A Possibility in 2023

Legal recreational cannabis in Florida could come to pass in 2023 now that citizens in the state have collected enough signatures to require a Florida Supreme Court review of a proposed legalization ballot effort.

An effort led by the Smart & Safe Florida political committee already has collected 294,046 signatures, far above the 222,898 needed for the financial and judicial impact review. To get on the ballot, the measure would need 891,589 signatures.

Smart & Safe Florida is supporting an amendment to the state constitution that would allow those 21 or older to “to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.”

Its passage would be a huge win for the cannabis industry.

Florida Considered One of the Best Cannabis States

Experts consider Florida one of the best places for the cannabis industry for a variety of reasons. For one, about 19 percent of the state is over the age of 65, a fact that has already created a hugely popular medical marijuana industry in the Sunshine State.

Second, the state is the fastest-growing state in the country, with a 1.9 percent increase in its population in 2022. That made it the fastest growing U.S. state for the first time since 1957, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. It’s also the third most populous state with 22 million residents.

Florida currently has the largest, most lucrative medical marijuana market in the United States, with $1 billion in sales in the first half of 2022 alone. Experts project that legal recreational cannabis in Florida would create a multi-billion dollar market and as many as 100,00 jobs in the state.

What It Will Take to Get on the Ballot

As noted above, proponents need 891,589 signatures to get legal recreational cannabis in Florida on the ballot. People can go to the Smart and Safe Florida website to add their names to the petition.

Surveys have found that three out of every four Floridians support cannabis legalization, with 76 percent voicing support for allowing people to possess small amounts of cannabis while only 20 percent opposed it.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not backed marijuana legalization and doesn’t care for the smell. However, Kiplinger recently wrote that it is “bullish about the prospects of adult-use cannabis passing in the state and see many benefits of weed legalization in Florida from a societal and economic standpoint, not to mention the political gains for the industry with another red state going adult-use.”

Kiplinger added that with the large untapped market for legal recreational cannabis in Florida, “real money and attention are focused on making sure adult recreational cannabis use passes in Florida.”

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