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With Petition Milestone, Recreational Marijuana Is One Step Closer in Florida

With Petition Milestone, Recreational Marijuana Is One Step Closer in Florida

Postby smix » Mon Aug 12, 2019 11:57 pm

With Petition Milestone, Recreational Marijuana Is One Step Closer in Florida
Miami New Times

URL: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/marijuana ... y-11203724
Category: Politics
Published: July 31, 2019

Description: For years, Floridians have watched from the sidelines as states such as Colorado, California, and even Michigan have legalized recreational marijuana. But with activists pushing to get recreational weed on the 2020 ballot in Florida, the possibility of legalization now seems likelier than ever. Yesterday the advocacy group Regulate Florida announced its petition to legalize pot has gathered more than 76,632 verified signatures — enough to trigger a review by the Florida Supreme Court. "We have a long way to go to get it on the ballot, but we will GET IT DONE TOGETHER!!!" the organization wrote in an email newsletter. "TODAY IS THE 1st VICTORY OF MANY TO COME!!!" Next, the Florida Supreme Court will review the language of the prospective ballot item, which would regulate weed like alcohol in that marijuana would be legal "for limited use and growing" for anyone 21 years or older. Even if the language is approved, Regulate Florida would still need 766,200 signatures to put the amendment before voters. The Florida Supreme Court review represents a significant milestone, but Regulate Florida still must hit several other targets to get recreational marijuana on the ballot. According to the group's chairman, Michael Minardi, the state has 90 days after the court's certification to complete a financial impact statement on the economic effects of legalizing recreational marijuana. State statutes also call for the Florida secretary of state to send the proposed amendment to Florida's attorney general, who has 30 days to give an advisory opinion and potentially challenge the validity of the petition. A spokesman for Attorney General Ashley Moody said her office has not yet received the Regulate Florida petition. As of now, it's unclear exactly where Moody stands on legalization. The newly elected Republican has been publicly mum about virtually all marijuana legislation and notably didn't respond when the Tampa Bay Times surveyed 2018 candidates about whether they'd ever used marijuana. Last month, a poll by Quinnipiac University showed that 65 percent of Florida voters support "allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use." However, as the Miami Herald recently pointed out, that support doesn't guarantee the amendment's success on Election Day.



South Miami-Dade Town of Cutler Bay Publicly Supports Legalizing Recreational Marijuana
Miami New Times

URL: https://www.miaminewtimes.com/marijuana ... a-11237447
Category: Politics
Published: August 12, 2019

Description: Support for recreational marijuana in Florida seems stronger than ever. A petition to put legal weed on the ballot in 2020 passed a huge milestone last week, and a recent Quinnipiac University poll showed that 65 percent of Floridians now support allowing adults to use and possess small amounts of marijuana. This week, Orlando megalawyer and medical marijuana advocate John Morgan (who nauseatingly calls himself "Pot Daddy") announced he would throw his weight behind the drive for full legalization. As the tide of public support is turning, an unlikely advocate has arisen: the Town of Cutler Bay. Last month, the town council voted in favor of a resolution to support recreational marijuana, saying the economic benefits to Florida would be significant. "If you’re not prosecuting people who are using it illegally today, that alone has a financial advantage for the entire state and any municipality with its own law enforcement," Councilman Roger Coriat said at the July 17 meeting. Coriat, who sponsored the item, said that he believes the state is moving in the right direction when it comes to regulating marijuana and that there's been "inconsistent treatment of marijuana" compared to alcohol or tobacco. "Our attitudes change, our perceptions change, and I want us [as a town] to remain progressive in our mentality," Coriat said. Councilman Robert "B.J." Duncan agreed that arrests for marijuana possession tie up local law enforcement officers and the court system. "As it is now, you have people that will partake in using marijuana, and their punishment for using marijuana, from a legal standpoint, is umpteen times greater than the punishment for CEOs of large corporations when they do something they're not supposed to," Duncan said. The resolution passed on a 4-1 vote, with Vice Mayor Sue Ellen Loyzelle dissenting. Loyzelle said she would like to see more research before supporting full legalization. Although the council overwhelmingly spoke in favor of recreational marijuana, members stressed that tight regulation by the state is necessary. Councilman Michael Callahan said his biggest issue with the current medical marijuana system is that dispensaries are regulated like pharmacies, which means there are few restrictions about where they can be located. "Right now, if a medical marijuana dispensary wants to open right next to a school or a daycare center, it can do that," he said. "We can certainly thank the State of Florida for that idiot type of legislation, but unfortunately, that's the way it is right now."
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John Morgan: Let’s vote to make recreational marijuana legal in Florida next year

Postby smix » Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:07 am

John Morgan: Let’s vote to make recreational marijuana legal in Florida next year
Orlando Sentinel

URL: https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politic ... story.html
Category: Politics
Published: August 6, 2019

Description: Orlando lawyer John Morgan on Tuesday backed a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida through a constitutional amendment in 2020, declaring that “I am too old to care” about opposition to the proposal. “I believe that #marijuana should be legal!!” Morgan wrote on his Twitter account. "I think we have time and I think there is money to get it done. I already have the minimum wage signatures. Let’s do this maybe, forget Tallahassee! #ForThePeople - #PotDaddy”
I have decided that I am too old to care. I believe that #marijuana should be legal!! I think we have time and I think there is money to get it done. I already have the minimum wage signatures. Let’s do this maybe, forget Tallahassee! #ForThePeople #PotDaddy
— John Morgan (@JohnMorganESQ) August 6, 2019

In June, Morgan tweeted a different tune: “I support the full legalization of #marijuana. However, my plate is full w/ a living wage for Florida’s working poor. I can only slay one dragon at a time.”
What changed?
“I was approached by industry leaders who have the deep deep pockets to do it and do it fast,” Morgan said in an email Tuesday. A strong majority of voters — 65% to 30% — said they wanted to see marijuana legalization in Florida, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll in June, a showing the pollsters called “an all-time high in the state” on the marijuana issue. Two years ago, the same poll found 56% in favor and 41% opposed. But, Morgan added, “It will still be hard.” The Florida Sheriffs Association, which opposed medical marijuana in 2016, “remains opposed to the full legislation of recreational marijuana,” said FSA spokeswoman Nanette Schimpf. “The legalization of marijuana would be contrary to the interests of the public health, safety and welfare and would undermine the quality of life of the citizens of the state of Florida.” The Florida Medical Association, which also opposed the medical pot initiative, did not return a request for comment. How the campaign will be structured is also yet to be determined, Morgan said. A new political committee, Make It Legal Florida, based out of Tampa, registered with the state last week. The group Sensible Florida has been gathering petitions for an amendment legalizing marijuana for adults over the age of 21 since 2016, having collected more than 79,000 so far. But Morgan said he wasn’t sure how he would move forward with the campaign, whether through one of those existing groups or a new group of his own. While the details are still being worked out, Morgan did have one prediction for the amendment. “It will pass in a landslide,” he said. The key, Morgan said, “is that the industry will use their financial resources to move it. And it has to move fast. And we are lucky we have one Cabinet member who will be all in: Nikki Fried.” Fried, the only statewide elected Democrat in the state, won a slim victory for agriculture commissioner in 2018 thanks in part to her crossover appeal to Republican and libertarian voters because of her strong support for medical marijuana. Fried has not commented on the recreational pot amendment. Her office did not return a request for comment Tuesday. Morgan jumping into the fray to legalize pot had been long in coming and has featured a lot of twists and turns. He bankrolled much of the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state, which passed with 71% of the vote in 2016, but has gone back and forth since about whether recreational pot was the next step. After a brief flirtation with running for governor, Morgan had said he was solely focused on his efforts to place an amendment on the 2020 ballot that would gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. In May 2018, he said he didn’t think he would need to initiate a referendum to legalize recreational pot because “all the dominoes will be falling nationally in four years.” But in June 2018 he said he would go for it, saying he learned from his 2014 and 2016 medical marijuana campaigns that it was necessary to launch such campaigns during presidential elections and not midterm years with lower turnout. Until Tuesday, his energy had been tied up in his minimum wage initiative. Last month he announced he had gathered more than a million signatures for that campaign, far more than the required amount. The state has yet to certify them all, however.
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