The Florida Smart & Safe campaign for recreational cannabis use has secured and verified over 1 million signatures. Roughly .5% of the population stepped up for recreational marijuana. Despite the support, the group has to get approval from the Florida supreme court before it can go to a general vote.
Florida’s elected leaders seem to have an issue that runs opposite of the public. In a survey from Pew Research, only 10% of the population wants marijuana to be illegal. A full 89% believe medical marijuana should be available to everyone and 59% believe it should be with alcohol in recreational use.
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“I think it’s going to be a tough fight, and I think it could go either way,” constitutional attorney Will Cooper shared with WFLA. “The key is the Supreme Court in Florida. They have a history of being very aggressive and striking down these initiatives relating to marijuana use in Florida.”
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody already announced intentions to fight the proposed constitutional amendment. Moody’s communications director said it’s essential Floridians know what they’re voting for. Again, they aren’t sure Florida citizens are smart enough to understand.
Florida twice approved medical marijuana. The first time it had over 55% of the state vote in favor but the Governor and Florida court said they were ill informed and refused to allow it to pass into law. Then in November of 2016 Floridians again voted on a constitutional amendment to introduce medical cannabis to the state. The amendment passed with 71.3% of voters in favor of the initiative. Governor Ron DeSantis refused has extremely slow walked the process. Currently, for a population of 21 million, the state has 501 dispensary locations currently in operation. Florida also has 1790 dedicated liquor shops not counting convenience stores (9,500+), bars, restaurants, and grocery stores (4,000+).
This fight is commons as the they are dealing with two other major issues that can derail the Sunshine State. Public and private university faculty are reporting that they are losing staff at a high rate and struggling to fill vacant positions that were once covetous. A brain drain is happening in the college system and people are declining to move to the state for high-paying technical jobs. The state will have to lean on service workers to generate more taxes.
The second is the soaring cost of home insurance with four national insurance firms refusing to cover Florida. The issue is so dire, there is concern of a housing market crash.
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Twenty perfect of the state’s population if over 65. According to data in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients suffering from pain, cancer, anxiety, and insomnia report significant, sustained improvements in their health-related quality of life following the use of medical marijuana.
That is a amount of the population who can have a direct benefit from better and legal access. So when it comes to legal cannabis, the will of the public and the actions of the state just don’t add up.