TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Despite growing support for legal pot, Floridians won’t get to vote on recreational marijuana this year.
Backers of the marijuana legalization effort said Monday that their proposal will not be on Florida’s 2020 ballot and that their bid has been postponed.
“With the support of over 67 percent of Florida voters, Make it Legal Florida is proud to have gathered more than 700,000 signed petitions in the effort to bring adult-use cannabis to the Sunshine State,” the group said in a statement.
“The narrow timeframe to submit and verify those signatures has prompted our committee to shift focus to now gain ballot access in 2022.”
According to Florida’s Division of Elections, the group had raised more than $8.6 million to support the petition drive.
A separate bid, the “Regulate Florida” ballot initiative, which would have allowed Floridians to grow their own marijuana, fizzled late last year.
Marijuana is legal for recreational use in 10 states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and, most recently, Illinois.
Eight more states, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota and South Dakota, could vote to legalize marijuana this year. Thirty-three states, including Florida have legalized medical marijuana.
Around 61% of Florida voters support the sale of legal marijuana in their communities, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll from June. Nearly two-thirds of respondents said adults should be able to have small amounts of marijuana for personal use, the poll said.
On Monday, Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg filed SB 1860, which would legalize marijuana for adult use.
“For me this is a liberty issue. We should give adult Floridians the freedom to make their own choices when it comes to cannabis,” Brandes said. “It’s not a matter of if, but when, Floridians will have access to adult use marijuana. This bill allows the legislature to lead on an issue a super majority of Floridians support.”
Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando, has also filed a companion bill in the Florida House.