An effort to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida registered its first victory on Monday when reform activists announced that they had collected a sufficient number of signatures in order to trigger a process through which the state’s Supreme Court would review the language of their petition.
If the court approves the petition’s language, Regulate Florida, the group behind the legalization effort, will face its biggest hurdle yet. At least 766, 200 voter signatures will need to be collected in order to put cannabis legalization on the state ballot next year. This required number of signatures is approximately ten times what the group had to collect in order to get the Supreme Court to review the measure’s language.
The activists observe that it is very expensive to collect signatures in support of such an initiative. For example, it costs about $2 to print, collect and validate each petition. The reform advocates have not yet received any financial backing from John Morgan, the personal injury attorney who bankrolled the effort to legalize medical cannabis in the state in 2016. Morgan had also financed a failed attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in the state in 2014.
The personal injury attorney seems to have opted to put his money behind an initiative to increase the minimum wage in the state. He is reported to have said that he is doubtful that Florida is ready for recreational marijuana even if recent polls show that 65 percent of adults in the state want to see an end to marijuana prohibition.
However, the activists are confident that Florida voters will do what the lawmakers have failed to do on several occasions. For example, a bill to legalize recreational marijuana stalled even before a hearing had been scheduled in the state legislature.
Regulate Florida has also adopted another tactic to make the recreational marijuana initiate more attractive. They are positioning this effort as a measure which will make the medical marijuana program more patient-friendly since patients will be allowed to grow a limited number of marijuana plants for their medical needs. Home cultivation wasn’t allowed under the law through which the medical marijuana program was legalized.
The activists are now calling for volunteers to help in the signature collection process, and they are also appealing for donations to fund the signature collectors who aren’t volunteers. Analysts believe that the cannabis industry, including TransCanna Holdings Inc. (CSE: TCAN) (FRA: TH8) and Therma Bright Inc. (TSX.V: THRM) (OTC: THRBF), will be rooting for the reform advocates since the wall of prohibition needs to be pegged back in as many states as possible if the industry is to reach its full potential.
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