TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – An amendment legalizing medical marijuana in Florida fell just short in 2014 and supporters are making a push for 2016, but a new group is pushing a recreational marijuana amendment.
The future of marijuana in Florida is shaping up to be a burning question in 2016. A medical marijuana initiative barely failed just last year, and now a new group is pushing a ballot amendment that would further expand access.
Shannon Stallings is the legal adviser for pro-pot group Floridians for Freedom.
"Ours focuses on responsible adult use," Stallings said.
The group plans to start circulating petitions for an amendment that would legalize marijuana for recreational use for those 21 and older.
The group said it would like to see the drug regulated just like alcohol.
"Minors would not be able to have access to it, but adults would be able to use it as they please in their own home, to grow it as they want it or as they need it," Stallings said.
The group said it is encouraged by the business success of marijuana in Colorado and Washington, where the drug was legalized.
"We're turning what was just a black-market hobby for most people who did it into a legitimate industry for a legitimate business. We've created more than 27 jobs," said Jill Lane, of Sky High Gardens, in Seattle. "That's the thing -- I mean, always about cannabis there's been a fear mongering; saying if we let responsible individuals to have this plant, the sky is going to fall. And that has just not proven to be the case."
They are hopeful that a presidential election year could tip the scales in their favor. If the group is able to get its amendment on the ballot, a big turnout could give the group a good shot at passage.
Floridians for Florida needs 67,000 signatures in order for the Supreme Court to review the proposed ballot language. The group would then need more than 600,000 more signatures to get it on 2016's ballot.