Cannabis legalization initiatives are making their way to the 2020 Florida ballot

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Cannabis legalization initiatives are making their way to the 2020 Florida ballot

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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A number of pro-cannabis politicians are feeling hopeful about an initiative that is headed to the 2020 Florida ballot. So far, cannabis reform has swept across 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Florida sits at the epicenter of the “Green Rush” and if next year’s voter-driven ballot measure is successful, the state will be welcoming legal weed with open arms.

In 2016, 71 percent of Floridians voted to legalize medical cannabis. This led to the Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Initiative (Amendment 2) being approved on November 8, 2016.

With 11 U.S. states having legalized the plant for recreational purposes, politicians and lawmakers in Florida are inching ever-closer to cannabis reform.

What does Florida’s cannabis legalization initiative entail?

Two petitions have been filed with the Florida Division of Elections that would potentially prompt cannabis legalization by means of a constitutional amendment on the 2020 ballot; each petition focuses on a unique approach.

August 23 was the date on which the most recent petition was filed. This cannabis legalization initiative in Florida was submitted by a pro-pot group named “Make It Legal.” The initiative, if approved, would allow individuals aged 21 and above to buy, consume, possess, transport and publicly display cannabis to the amount of 2.5 ounces.

“Regulate Florida” is the name of the other cannabis legalization initiative in Florida. Just like the other proposal from “Make It Legal”, this one would also regulate cannabis use for individuals aged 21 and over. It differs in the respect that if it passes, it would also legalize cannabis cultivation for personal use.

Furthermore, the constitutional amendments would trigger the development of licensing framework for cannabis retail activities, testing, manufacturing and growing. “Regulate Florida” has already garnered over 88,000 verified signatures.

Gov. Ron DeSantis could score some points from the public if he legalizes cannabis in Florida

The Governor of Florida is clearly not opposed to the idea of legal cannabis, what with Ron DeSantis signing Senate bill (SB 182) in March to legalize smokable medical cannabis.

Then, in April, he approved eight new medical cannabis licenses for eight nurseries; bulking up the 14 operators that were already participating in Florida’s medical cannabis industry.

Could recreational cannabis legalization be next? As an issue widely favored by the general public, it could certainly work in his favor to support one of the initiatives filed. However, during an interview with WCTV, he said that a cannabis legalization initiative will not pass while he is governor.

“I mean look, when that is introduced with teenagers and young people, I think it has a really detrimental effect on their well being and their maturity,” said DeSantis, who could be missing out on some popularity points if he dismisses the idea.

You can view Florida’s cannabis legalization initiatives by clicking here.