In 2016, Florida established a medical cannabis system with legislation that was passed by voters. But now, the possibility of adult-use cannabis is one step closer to becoming a reality in the state, with a new initiative that will be on the 2024 ballot. In the past few years, the Florida State Supreme Court has turned down proposed legislation that tried to legalize cannabis sales and possession for all adults ages 21 and older, including most recently last year.
The Florida State Supreme Court has focused on semantics of previous pieces of legislation that would allow legal adult cannabis sales and use, claiming that the bills were wordy and misleading to voters and consumers. However, according to industry leaders and those backing the new initiative, this won’t happen again. The proposed cannabis legislation is supported by the cannabis industry in Florida, with the Smart & Safe Florida Political Committee being a main funder; but it is being backed and even funded by Trulieve, the state’s biggest medical cannabis company.
The initiative is called “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” and would allow adults over 21 years old in the state to “possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion or otherwise.”
The proposal is being publicly supported by members of the country band the Bellamy Brothers, who recently put out a commercial to inform the public about the initiative, along with the Smart & Safe Florida Political Committee. The ad covers the topics of freedom and the economic aspects of cannabis legalization in the state.
“As we travel the country, we see the benefits of adult use and as Florida residents we love the ‘freedom state’ moniker and believe that Florida needs to join the millions of Americans whose adults are free to use cannabis without fear of being incarcerated,” The Bellamy brothers, who are Florida natives, said in an email response to the News Service of Florida, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times.
Now that the proposed initiative passed the first step, the process of collecting signatures through the Florida State Division of Elections will begin. This is necessary In order to be on the 2024 ballot for voters; 900,000 valid signatures must be collected for the constitutional amendment to be presented to voters.
Under the new proposal, as reported by a CBS affiliate in Miami, cannabis sales would be legal in the state for all adults over 21. Further, all adults would also be allowed to possess up to 28 grams(one ounce) of cannabis. However, a limit would be placed on possession of cannabis concentrates to only five grams. Some aspects of cannabis not covered in the proposed initiative include expungement for individuals with prior convictions of crimes involving cannabis.
Under the proposal, the state would allow current dispensaries of medical cannabis the ability to “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute marijuana products and marijuana accessories to adults for personal use.’
“It’s all about improving access,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers told The News Service of Florida in an interview. “We came into this with a mission to provide access to high-quality products that are safe and have an appropriate value proposition to give folks control over their—in the original days—medical journey. I don’t think that changes here. I mean, in effect we are at our core about expanding the opportunity for access to safe, legal products, which is what this would allow us to continue to do.”
Click here, to read the full text version of the proposed cannabis legalization initiative in Florida.