Floridians wont get to vote on recreational marijuana this year – The Ledger

FORT LAUDERDALE — Despite strong support, Florida voters won’t get to decide this year whether to make recreational marijuana legal.

A group pushing a constitutional amendment said Monday that it will drop its bid to get the proposal on this year’s ballot and instead will focus on 2022.

The decision means Floridians, for now, could be left out of a marijuana movement that is sweeping the nation. Recreational marijuana is now legal in 10 states: Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Michigan, Vermont, Maine, California, Alaska and, most recently, Illinois, which began sales Jan. 1.

Legal pot could be on the ballot this year in eight more states: Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and South Dakota.

Thirty-three states, including Florida in 2016, have legalized medical marijuana for certain health conditions. This year, two groups were looking to get proposals on the ballot that would have taken the next step in Florida.

The campaign postponed Monday, known as Make It Legal Florida, was considered the strongest bid because major medical marijuana dispensaries in the state backed it.

Nick Hansen, chairman of Make it Legal Florida, said the ballot initiative gathered more than 700,000 signatures to bring recreational cannabis to the state, but the narrow time frame to submit and verify the signatures prompted the committee to shift its focus to the 2022 ballot.

The campaign had raised more than $8.6 million to support the petition drive, according to Florida’s Division of Elections. Its signed petitions are valid for two years, so they can put them toward the 2022 ballot effort.

The other group, Regulate Florida, announced earlier that it lacked enough signatures for the 2020 ballot. That amendment would have allowed Floridians to grow their own marijuana.

To make the ballot, an initiative must gather 766,200 signatures by Feb.

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