TAMPA (WFLA) – The Florida Supreme Court dealt what increasingly appears to be a fatal blow to the effort to legalize marijuana for all adults in the state — at least for 2022.
There are actually three ballot initiatives that would effectively legalize marijuana for all adults. Make It Legal Florida is the group whose initiative was blocked Thursday by the Florida Supreme Court.
Sensible Florida and Floridians for Freedom also have two initiatives that would legalize marijuana, but as of now, the two groups do not have enough signatures needed to get on the ballot.
8 On Your Side reached out to all three groups about how the Florida Supreme Court ruling will affect their efforts. None have returned our request for comment.
In total, 18 states and the District of Columbia have passed laws to fully legalize cannabis for all adults, though you can’t buy it yet in three of those states due to to legal challenges (South Dakota) or the laws not being effective yet (Virginia, New Mexico).
Another 18 states have a medical marijuana program, but not full legalization.
Gary Stein, a marijuana advocate in Florida who runs the pro-cannabis Clarity PAC, said he’s not worried.
“We’re still at status quo,” Stein said. “That’s not a bad place to be. We still have a vibrant medical program here in Florida that continues to get more and more access to patients and that’s a good thing.”
Political consultant Steve Schale says Florida probably has nothing to worry about when it comes to losing tourist dollars.
“The great thing about Florida is we have a phenomenal brand around the world, not just the country,” said Schale. “So whether pot is legal has very little impact on 120 million people coming here for Disney World or beaches or you name it.”