Campaign begins to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida

Smart & Safe started a campaign to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in Florida.

Photo: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

The group Smart & Safe Florida started this Monday a campaign to legalize the recreational use of cannabis in adults 21 years of age and older in this southeastern US state. where medical marijuana is already legal.

The initiative wants to put to a vote in the 2024 elections an amendment to the state Constitution that opens the way for the recreational use of marijuana in adults, and for this they need to gather a minimum of 900,000 signatures in order to get it on the ballots. suffrage.

The petition was filed today with the Florida Division of Elections and has the support of the Florida country music duo The Bellamy Brothers, as well as that of the Trulieve company, the largest medical marijuana operator in the state and which has contributed five million dollars to the campaign, according to local media.

The promoters of this campaign hope to have better luck than the previous two attempts, both launched last year but which did not obtain a green light from the state Supreme Court.

“Almost half of all Americans legally enjoy the freedom to use recreational marijuana,” said the musical duo in a video released today and in which they expressed their confidence that the initiative will go ahead, given that almost 75% of Floridian voters approve of legalizing marijuana, they said.

The campaign website highlights that 19 states and the federal district of Washington have legalized “adult use of cannabis,” while lamenting that marijuana arrests “account for more than half of all drug arrests in the United States.” the United States”.

“There is no evidence that the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use at the state level, as 37 states have already done, has promoted the consumption of minors in the regulated market,” adds the campaign Smart & Safe Florida.

It also highlights that violent crimes in states where marijuana was legalized have decreased by 12.5%.

In the 2016 election, Florida voters approved legalizing marijuana for medical purposes through a constitutional amendment, a victory after a loss in the 2014 election.

Approved by 71% of the votes, the measure entered into force in January 2017 and allows the use of cannabis for medical treatment of chronic pain or diseases such as Parkinson’s, glaucoma or HIV/AIDS, as well as to treat extreme anxiety. or post-traumatic stress disorder.

According to the Sun Sentinel newspaper, as of mid-April of this year, more than 700,000 people appear on state records as authorized holders of a medical marijuana card.

Currently a total of 37 US states have passed laws that allow the use of this substance for medical purposes.

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