TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The ballot initiatives to get marijuana legalized in Florida have failed to gather the signatures needed to make it to voters. The cut off was Feb. 1.
In order to make it onto the ballot, each proposed initiative needed to break two thresholds. First, each one needed to clear 222,898 signatures to receive a judicial and financial impact review. Afterward, the ballot measures would need to gather a total of 891,589 signatures to proceed to the November ballot, if ruled constitutional by the state Supreme Court.
Of the three ballot initiatives proposed, only one got enough signatures for a judicial review, but the state courts threw out the proposed amendment on legal grounds.
The other two attempts didn’t even get close to the signature tallies needed to have voters make the decision to legalize or reject recreational marijuana in Florida. Additionally, multiple ballot proposals aimed at reforming state medical marijuana provisions also failed to pass the required hurdles to make it to ballot.
Having failed to reach the required signatures to make it to ballot, any potential legalization efforts in 2022 for marijuana proponents would have to happen in the state legislature, instead of solely with voters. That said, there are a few proposed bills in the Florida House and Senate that could help legalize pot in the state as a recreational item, if they gain enough support from lawmakers.
Currently, there are four proposed pieces of legislation that would specifically legalize marijuana and its derivative products for recreational consumption, though only for those aged 21 or older. The four bills are split between both chambers of the Florida Legislature and, if passed, would only become law contingent upon gubernatorial approval and if the accompanying bills pass.
As a result, the bills legalizing recreational marijuana would only work if the separate bills to tax and regulate marijuana also pass. None of the bills, as of yet, have bipartisan support.
All were proposed by Democratic Party members in the House and Senate. Due to the high levels of polarization in Florida’s legislative body, it is unclear at this time that any of the bills would receive the support needed to seek a signature from Gov. Ron DeSantis, nor is it clear that if they do, they would be signed into law.