Recreational marijuana supporters hope Florida turns green

Recreational marijuana supporters hope Florida turns green

By Jeffrey Schweers

Forget about blue waves and red waves. A green wave is surging across the U.S. 

A mix of red, blue and purple states in November voted to either legalize or decriminalize the use and possession of cannabis. 

And Florida could be next.

Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, is leading the petition drive to get a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot to make marijuana available to adults for personal use. 

Based on the success and normalization of medical marijuana in Florida, Hansen said the chances for passage are good if the amendment makes it onto the ballot.

"The medical marijuana market in Florida expanded and the sky is not falling,” Hansen said. “Property values are not going down where you have dispensaries.”

The amendment would permit “adults 21 years or older to possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason.”

It also would permit Florida's medical marijuana treatment centers to sell, distribute, or dispense marijuana and related accessories to adults if clearly labeled and in childproof packaging. 

It also would prohibit advertising or marketing targeted to persons under 21, prohibit marijuana use in defined public places and maintain limitations on marijuana use in defined circumstances.

“If it gets on the ballot in 2022 it will absolutely pass by 67-68% based on the polling I’ve seen,” said state Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg and sponsor of a bill introduced in the 2020 Legislature to make marijuana available for adult use. “The numbers are getting stronger every year.”

The bill introduced by Brandes and its companion bill introduced by state Rep. Carlos G. Smith, D-Orlando, did not pass but they both plan to reintroduce the same legislation in the 2021 session that begins March 2.

They are less than hopeful, however, about its chances of making it through the Legislature.

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