Campaign group Make It Legal Florida is mailing out fliers this week in an effort to persuade voters to sign a petition urging the state to legalize recreational marijuana.
Multistate operators Surterra Wellness and MedMen each contributed $545,000 to the group to aid its lobbying efforts. The aim is to see recreational marijuana legalization placed on the 2020 ballot, a move that would allow voters to decide if they want it to be permitted in the Sunshine State.
Eleven states have already legalized adult-use cannabis and 10 of them did so via a ballot, with Illinois the only exception.
Florida is the third largest state by population, and it has an aging and affluent population, so it has huge potential for the cannabis industry. It already boasts a flourishing medical marijuana market and now major companies are pushing for recreational marijuana sales to be permitted.
Make It Legal Florida claims that the state’s residents want to be able to purchase marijuana legally. “We saw public and private polling showing that folks 21 and over want to have the ability to experience cannabis as part of a normal product that they would buy like you’d buy anything in a CVS and retail store,” said chairman Nick Hansen, who is also MedMen’s southeastern director of government affairs.
Last month the group polled 800 voters and found that 67% want to see recreational cannabis legalized, while 29% oppose legalization and the rest are ambivalent.
It aims to make it as easy as possible for voters to “make their voices heard”. It has therefore decided to send a number of them a personalized petition. Florida residents will find their name and address printed on the form, so all they have to do is sign, date and return it.
The group will pass the petition on to the state once it has garnered the necessary level of support.
A separate group called Regulate Florida is also bidding to gain support for placing marijuana legalization on the 2020 ballot. It has gathered 88,000 signatures, but it needs 766,200 to make it on the ballot.
If a measure on the ballot gains the approval of more than 60% of voters, it becomes part of the state constitution.