Will Florida be next to legalize?
A proposed constitutional amendment in Florida would allow anyone 21 or older to own, use, or buy marijuana products for recreational purposes. It would not change or immunize any violations of federal law, but rather set limits on personal possession and usage and a date for it to take effect.
Gov. Ron DeSantis is no fan of marijuana. While campaigning for his second term as governor, DeSantis said, "I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places [that have legalized] and I don't want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely."
DeSantis’ vocal opposition to legalization and landslide victory in November made the legislature an unlikely route for success, forcing advocates to go the ballot initiative route.
Though this is not the first time recreational marijuana has been proposed in Florida, the current measure has gained some traction with the help of a celebrity endorsement from the Bellamy Brothers. Currently, eligible Floridians can only access medical marijuana legally, and several restrictions are in place.
The measure must first be approved by the Florida Supreme Court to ensure that its proposed language is accurate. It also needs to pass financial impact reviews to assess the potential budget impact and other statutes that may be affected. Finally, it needs to collect a total of 891,589 valid signatures in order to make the ballot.
If it does make it onto the 2024 ballot, recreational marijuana will need more than just endorsements from celebrities and advocates—it requires approval from 60% of voters in order for the law to take effect. Until then, Floridians must continue to wait and see if the state will become one of the next in the union to legalize recreational marijuana.
Though it may not happen overnight, advocates are hopeful that come 2024, recreational marijuana could finally be legal in Florida. Only time will tell if this measure succeeds — or fails —in becoming a part of the Sunshine State's laws.