Yet another group is taking a long-shot at getting recreational marijuana AKA Right of Adults To Cannabis on the ballot in Florida for the 2020 election.
Any hopes of doing so in this year’s election in November vanished long ago. State law requires a petition with 766,200 signatures to get an amendment to the state Constitution on the ballot. The signatures must be obtained in a 24-month window.
Right of Adults To Cannabis
Even Regulate Florida, the highest profile group leading the charge for legalized recreational marijuana, gave up on 2018 long ago. They also have set their sights on the 2020 ballot.
However, one man in Bradenton with the group Floridians For Freedom is hoping to circumvent the 766,200-signature rule by going directly to the Florida Constitution Revision Commission with Proposal 700000.
Why Floridians Should Care
While his chances of success seem slim, Colby Wise, the Bradenton resident leading Proposal 700000, has generated some interest because of his unique approach.
He is asking the commission to directly place the legal recreational marijuana issue on the 2020 ballot and allow Floridians to decide. According to Wise, it would take a vote by 22 of the 37 members of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission to place recreational marijuana legalization on the ballot.
Wise’s legalization proposal states that all Florida residents 21 and older would have the right to “possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis.” It’s called “Right of Adults to Cannabis.”
It’s likely the commission, which gets many such requests on a variety of issues every election cycle, will not get involved with what is a highly charged political issue. Wise himself said he and volunteers for Floridians for Freedom have already started trying to collect signatures to get the issue on the ballot. So far, they have validated 22,000, about 3 percent of what is needed.
The group Regulate Florida is generally acknowledged as the most organized pro-legalization group. They are led by Tampa attorney Michael Minardi. Other board members include former Homeland Security agent Ray Strack and Karen Seeb Goldstein, executive director of the Florida chapter of NORML.
The two groups are taking different approaches. Regulate Florida wants marijuana regulated like alcohol. The Floridians for Freedom proposal, “Right of Adults to Cannabis”, wants to make marijuana possession, use and cultivation a basic right under Article 1 of the state constitution.
However, neither group has great financial backing yet. John Morgan, who helped fund the two measures that eventually led to legal medical marijuana in Florida, supports full legalization but has not yet jumped into the campaign.
Some speculate it could take as long as five years to get the proposal on the ballot, perhaps in 2022 or 2024. But Wise said he and his group have their sites on 2020 and that current law is unfair for locking up people who use marijuana. Regulate Florida has the same goal.
Whenever and however it reaches the ballot, Florida voters could provide an indication on how the rest of the country could eventually go on the issue. The state is divided politically and has a long history with both marijuana and providing an indication of where the country is going politically.
For example, Florida voters have voted for the winning presidential candidate in all but one election since 1980.