TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana in Florida rolled past its first legal hurdle on its way to the ballot.
The measure must meet two thresholds before the issue gets on the 2024 ballot.
First, the “Smart & Safe Florida” committee had to collect at least 222,898 valid signatures for a judicial and financial impact review. The Florida Supreme Court will review the proposed language that would be on the ballot to make sure it’s not misleading. Florida officials and lawmakers will see what impact it could have on the state budget, and how other statutes may be affected. If everything is approved, the group would then need to collect a total of 891,589 valid signatures to get the issue to ballot position.
To be blunt, this doesn’t mean the law will be passed. There would need to be a joint effort by advocates and voters to push it onto the books. Florida requires a minimum 60% approval from voters for the measure to become law of the land.
On Feb. 2, the total of valid signatures was 294,000, enough for a review of the measure.
The proposed amendment would allow anyone 21 or older to own, buy, or use marijuana products and accessories for recreation, not just medical consumption. This can be through smoking, ingestion, or other methods.
That said, the legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida would “not change, or immunize violations of, federal law,” but will set the state limits for personal use and possession, as well as scheduling a date for it to take effect, the proposed amendment states.
It’s not the first time recreational marijuana has been proposed in Florida.
Efforts to bring it to Florida legally have dragged on for years, with the most recent attempts failing in 2021 after a judge ruled against how the amendment’s summary would read on ballots.
The current version, submitted in August 2022, may have more luck with the help of a celebrity endorsement.
Eligible Floridians can currently use medical marijuana legally, but there are several restrictions.