Florida Group Submits 420,000 Signatures for Cannabis Amendment—Halfway to Qualifying for Ballot

Florida residents are one step closer to being able to vote on legalizing recreational cannabis use. A group called Make It Legal Florida recently submitted 420,000 signatures to the state’s Division of Elections in support of a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would legalize the possession and use of cannabis for adults over the age of 21. The group needs to collect 766,200 valid signatures in order to qualify for the ballot, but the 420,000 signatures submitted is a major milestone and is a sign that the group is on track to reach the goal.

The proposed amendment would allow adults to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis and to use it in private places. It would also allow for the sale and taxation of cannabis, with taxes going to fund public education and other public services. The amendment also includes criminal justice reform components, such as expunging criminal records for people with prior cannabis convictions and allowing for the release of those currently in prison for cannabis-related offenses.

Make It Legal Florida is a coalition of cannabis advocacy organizations and businesses that have come together to support the amendment. The group is led by Nick Hansen, the executive director of Florida for Care, a non-profit organization that advocates for medical cannabis access in the state. Hansen has been working on the issue since 2014 and has been a major driving force behind the effort to get the amendment on the ballot.

The group has been collecting signatures since June and has been using a combination of online and in-person methods to reach its goal. The online petition has been instrumental in driving support for the amendment, with more than 60,000 people signing the petition in just the first month. In-person signature gathering has also been a major part of the effort, with volunteers and paid signature gatherers going door-to-door and attending events to collect signatures.

The 420,000 signatures submitted is a major milestone for the group, but there is still a long way to go before the amendment can be put on the ballot. The Division of Elections now has to verify the signatures to make sure they are valid, and the group needs to collect at least 345,200 more signatures in order to qualify for the ballot. If the amendment does qualify, it will be put to a vote in November 2020, giving Florida residents the chance to decide if they want to legalize recreational cannabis use.