Will Florida Legalize Recreational
But that doesn`t stop members of the House and Senate from promoting recreational marijuana. The change would allow recreational use of marijuana by people 21 and older and could also remove requirements that have made it costly for small cannabis entrepreneurs. TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) – 2022 is probably not the year recreational marijuana is legalized in Florida. Two constitutional amendments have been found flawed by the state Supreme Court, and legislative efforts are a long way off, but that doesn`t stop some from trying. In the Florida Supreme Court`s opinion last year, the summary of the election measure was unclear on recreational marijuana use in Florida versus restrictions under federal law. TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — About 20 percent of the United States has legalized the use of marijuana for recreational purposes. Across the country, 18 states have legalized the drug on a recreational basis, while 37 have legalized it exclusively for medical purposes with a prescription. At Largey Law Firm, we monitor developments regarding the potential legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida.
If you have any questions or need a lawyer to defend you in a drug case, contact us online. We have offices in Tavares, Inverness and Clermont and serve clients throughout Central Florida. While medical marijuana is legal in Florida, smoking recreationally for pleasure is still illegal. Efforts to legalize weed in the Sunshine State have met with resistance from state leaders and some lawmakers. By February, various attempts to legalize weed in Florida had failed. While the wording that could appear on the 2022 ballot is still being worked out, the November election cycle brought good news on another front to legalization supporters. Florida voters rejected Amendment 4, which would have resulted in the approval of all future constitutional amendments, such as a change to marijuana legalization, twice. If Amendment 4 had passed, it would have meant that even if voters had approved recreational marijuana in 2022, the same measure would have had to be voted on again in 2024. The rejection of Amendment No 4 removes this additional step. In the District of Columbia, medical and recreational marijuana use is allowed, but in Florida, recreational marijuana use is still illegal. However, the decriminalization of marijuana is so popular in the United States that federal lawmakers are trying to legalize the drug. Efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida have already failed.
The Make It Legal Florida policy committee is trying to put a constitutional amendment on the 2022 ballot that would legalize recreational marijuana. After there weren`t enough signatures for the measure to appear on the 2020 ballot, the committee has already received enough signatories to make 2022 possible. Voters in New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana passed legislation in November 2020 to legalize recreational marijuana use for anyone 21 or older. As a result, about one in three Americans now live in states where weed is legal for adults. However, Florida still does not allow recreational use of marijuana. However, that could change if the state Supreme Court doesn`t end the process first. After years of back-and-forth, several members of the U.S. House of Representatives have proposed federal legislation to decriminalize and fully allow recreational weed use in the U.S., but Senate efforts have been less fueled.
On April 1, the House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. Supporters of the new proposal said they were confident it would meet the Florida Supreme Court`s requirements for inclusion on the ballot and receive voter support. Regardless, the battle for weed rights continues on several fronts. The state`s agriculture commissioner and Democratic gubernatorial candidate, Nikki Fried, announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration over federal gun purchase forms showing whether they smoke weed, even legally. If the plaintiff answers “yes,” Fried`s lawsuit says he is disenfranchised to purchase a gun, violating his Second Amendment rights. Separately, Fried told WFLA political moderator Evan Donovan that if elected governor of Florida, she would work to legalize marijuana. In Florida, a new attempt is underway to put a change for recreational marijuana on the 2024 ballot. Last year, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to exclude recreational marijuana use in the state from the 2022 election, ruling that election language was misleading. Florida isn`t alone in splitting when it comes to legal recreational marijuana and legal medical use. The map below shows the states` position on marijuana legalization, based on February 2022 data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
This year, Roach teamed up with Democrat Andrew Learned, who co-funded a legalization bill last year. Proponents of the legislation told reporters that more than forty-two thousand people were arrested in 2018 for marijuana possession. Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 allowing the medical use of marijuana. Now, both would make medical marijuana more user-friendly by testing it, requiring more training to recommend doctors, and extending the validity period of a patient card. But when it comes to legalization, Learned told us. As proposed, the amendment “would allow adults 21 years of age and older to possess, use, purchase, display and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use and for any reason.” The legalization of marijuana will almost certainly be an issue in the gubernatorial race. Ron DeSantis has told us twice that he is against it, but the three Democrats running against him are in favor of it. At the time of passing the bill and sending it to the U.S. Senate, only three Republican members of the House of Representatives voted in favor, Gaetz, Representative Brian Mast (R-FL18) and Representative Tom McClintock (R-CA4).
The bill has not yet moved through the Senate. We asked Rep. Hinson how she would deal with the governor`s opposition. No attempt at legalization through legislative means has received enough support to advance in the state legislature. Voting initiatives were also unable to collect enough signatures in February. 1, 2022 deadline to appear on the November ballot and be elected by state residents. “Medical marijuana is legal. Guns are legal. It`s about people`s rights,” Fried said in a statement to NBC News about the lawsuit. “And I don`t care who I have to pursue to fight for their freedom.” “I`ll pray about it,” Hinson told us.
An election proposal had enough signatures to be subject to judicial review, but Florida`s highest court rejected the attempt on legal grounds because of the language used in its text. Rep. Yvonne Hinson (D-Gainesville) is the sponsor of a legalization bill. Trulieve, the state`s largest medical marijuana operator, and country music legends Bellamy Brothers support the proposal. Rep. Spencer Roach tried to limit THC in medical marijuana last year. Florida Attorney General Amit Agarwal said the language was misleading and therefore the court should not approve the measure in written form. Agarwal says the language gives the impression that possession and purchase of marijuana is completely legal, when in reality such actions would remain illegal under federal law. “I want to try to be the guy who is effective and gets things done,” the Tampa Democrat said. Make it legal to counter Florida lawyers by saying that the text and summary of the proposal are clear and unambiguous. On Agarwal`s point on federal law, Make It Legal Florida says, “We`re changing the only law we can change. The only law we can change is the Florida law.
“I`m practical in that I know the bill isn`t going anywhere,” Learn said. The 157-page bill would also overturn marijuana-related convictions and grant pardons to low-level offenders. Rep. Ann Eskamani (D-Orlando) said the legislation could continue to do a lot of good in the future. “Does arresting people for this largely victimless activity help anyone?” she asked at a news conference. “What voters can know is that if you have a governor Fried government, one of the first things we`re going to do is work on legalization here in our state and work on the federal side of things,” Fried said. Copyright 2022 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. “Let`s also see it as a source of revenue to cover as much as possible the expenses that we have in our state, where every person benefits,” the Democrat said.
The bill, called the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, would remove marijuana from the list of substances listed in the 1970 Controlled Substances Act and eliminate current criminal penalties for those who manufacture, distribute or possess marijuana.