Florida has the third largest population in the country, behind only California and Texas. That’s why the idea of legalizing marijuana there is a very big deal both for the marijuana industry and millions of consumers in the Sunshine State.
The chances that voters may get to decide the issue in 2020 is looking slightly more favorable in recent months, but there is still a long way to go.
A group called Regulate Florida has already gathered enough signatures to clear the first hurdle in getting the issue on the 2020 ballot. The next stop is likely the Florida Supreme Court. But the system in Florida shows how complicated and expensive it can be to get cannabis legalized in a big state.
What Floridians May Vote On
The state requires 76,000 signatures to put a measure on the ballot. Regulate Florida has already gathered more than 83,000 signatures. They are optimistic they can get a Constitutional Amendment on the ballot, but there is still a long way to go.
The signatures and the language of the proposed amendment must be submitted to the Florida Supreme Court in January 2020. Then, if everything passes muster, another 766,200 signatures must be obtained to put the measure on the ballot across the state, according to the Miami Herald.
Regulate Florida estimates the costs to do so will reach about $5 million.
The amendment would call for a regulated, legal system for adult use marijuana. The potential for the industry in Florida is huge. The Sunshine State, which is growing faster than any other state in terms of population, already has the potential for a $1.7 billion market in the next few years from the sale of medical marijuana alone.
The amendment would allow those 21 and older to possess marijuana and to grow up to six plants in their own home.
Chances of Success
If the amendment does reach the ballot, the chances for success in Florida may be good. A recent Quinnipiac University poll found that 65 percent of voters in Florida approve of legalizing recreational marijuana, according to the Herald. It’s the highest level of support ever in the state.
However, Orlando personal injury attorney John Morgan, who put millions into the campaign to get the medical marijuana measure on the ballot in 2016, is not as optimistic about the chances for legalization of recreational marijuana to pass.
He told the Herald that the changes of approval are “in the short run, not good. Because I cannot see this Legislature enacting that. I don’t see anybody doing a constitutional amendment in 2020. But I think ultimately, for all the states, it will be legal.”
Also, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he remains opposed to recreational marijuana legalization, saying earlier this summer: “Not while I’m governor.”