Is Florida on the cusp of making recreational marijuana use legal?

Initiative to Legalize Marijuana in Florida (2022)

The amendment was intended to make it lawful for citizens who are at least 21 years old to possess up to one ounce of marijuana. Up to six plants per home might have been grown by residents, but no more than three of those plants could have reached maturity or been in bloom. Users would not have been allowed to sell the plants they cultivate, and they would have required to be grown in “an enclosed, secured facility.”

The amendment would have treated marijuana the same as alcohol, making it unlawful for anybody under 21 to possess it, require evidence of age before buying it from retail stores, and make it illegal for anyone to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by or under the influence of marijuana. The amendment would have also provided guidelines for marijuana production, retail marijuana sales, and marijuana growing.

Use of Marijuana for Recreational Purposes in the US

By the end of the year 2020, recreational marijuana use had been legalised in 16 states and the District of Columbia, with citizens in nine of those states having passed initiatives to do so and legislators in two others passing laws that governors then signed. In 2012, voters in the states of Colorado and Washington approved recreational marijuana use.

A later proposal in Colorado authorised a statewide tax on marijuana sales. Oregon’s Measure 91, Alaska’s Measure 2, and Washington, DC’s Initiative 71 were the three successful ballot initiatives in 2014. In November 2016, voters in California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada all adopted ballot initiatives to legalise marijuana for recreational use. The Vermont legislature passed a measure legalising recreational marijuana use in the state by mid-January 2018, and Gov. Phil Scott (R) signed it into law on January 22, 2018.

In May of 2017, Governor Scott vetoed a measure that would have legalised marijuana. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed a measure into law on June 25, 2019, making the purchase, possession, and use of recreational marijuana legal across the state. Both Michigan and North Dakota have initiatives to legalise recreational marijuana use on the ballot in November of 2018. Both initiatives in Michigan and North Dakota were passed.

During 2020, ballot efforts in Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota led to legalisation in all three states. In 2020, the state legislature of New Jersey proposed a constitutional amendment that legalised the practise to the voters.

Also read: Locals On Medical Marijuana Cards

The legalisation of marijuana for recreational use in each state as of November 2020 is shown on the map below. The green-hued states had made marijuana use for recreational purposes legal (the shades of green indicate the years in which ballot measures were adopted; light green indicates measures approved in 2012, medium green indicates measures approved in 2014, medium-dark green indicates measures approved in 2016, and dark green indicates measures approved in 2018 and 2020).

The ballot initiatives to legalise marijuana for recreational use were lost in the states with dark grey shading. The state legislature and governor adopted and enacted recreational marijuana laws in the blue states. The other states (those with light grey shading) did not permit the use of marijuana for recreational purposes.

Procedures at the State Level

In Florida, 8% of the votes cast in the last presidential election is equated to the amount of signatures needed to launch a constitutional amendment. Additionally, Florida has a signature distribution requirement that stipulates that at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts must submit signatures totaling at least 8% of the district-wide vote in the most recent presidential election.

Signatures are still valid as of February 1 in years with even digits. By February 1 of the general election year in which the initiative hopes to be on the ballot, the signatures must be validated.

Also read: Recreational Marijuana Initiative Could Land in Florida’s Ballot

After advocates gather the necessary 25% of signatures from throughout the state in each of the state’s congressional districts, the proposed measure is considered by the state attorney general and state supreme court (222,898 signatures for 2022 ballot measures). The Florida Attorney General and the Financial Impact Estimating Conference must receive the proposal once these preliminary signatures have been gathered by the secretary of state (FIEC).

A petition for an advisory opinion on the initiative’s conformity with the single-subject rule, the propriety of the title and summary, and whether or not the measure “is facially legitimate under the United States Constitution” must be filed by the attorney general with the Florida Supreme Court.

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