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Despite growing support, Florida unlikely to legalize recreational marijuana anytime soon

While medical marijuana was legalized in the Sunshine State of Florida in 2016, there is a buzz around legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018.  Some people think that the refusal of the government to remove prohibitions on recreational marijuana has pushed the masses toward illegal black markets.  As a result, the problem of marijuana abuse has gone beyond control.    

Regulate Florida, a campaign started by Michael Minardi (a Tampa attorney), is scheduled to put forth the question of legalizing recreational cannabis on the ballot in the November election. However, there are lower chances of the campaign receiving the required number of signatures to enter the next phase. Though the chances of garnering support on such a controversial issue is bleak, the group has expressed optimism about gaining sufficient backing by 2020. Moreover, Minardi plans to propose a constitutional amendment that would permit the Floridians above 21 years of age to use, cultivate and purchase marijuana from retail dispensaries.

While the group has already collected around 40,000 signatures, the number is still short by over 36,000 signatures to enable a review of the proposed changes by February. Along the same lines, Floridians for Freedom, another pro-legalization group, wants to make the cultivation, possession and consumption of marijuana a basic right for adults aged above 21 years. It aims to make marijuana use a fundamental right instead of regulating it like alcohol. According to Colby Wise, a board of trustees of Floridians for Freedom, it is a better option to get the drug included in Article 1 of the constitution to face opposition from the federal bodies.

Polls show steady increase in support for recreational pot

Considering the medical benefits of marijuana in pain management, medical marijuana was legalized with the support of over 71 percent voters across all 67 Florida counties in 2016. On the contrary, the concept of legalization of recreational marijuana is comparatively less popular among the common masses. However, the recent polls are revealing a different picture.

According to the recent Gallup poll, the total support for the legalization of recreational marijuana has increased to 64 percent voters. This is the highest level of support ever received in favor of recreational use of cannabis. In 2016, around 56 percent voters supported the proposed change, which is 4 percent lower than the required number to pass a constitutional amendment.

It is important to understand that the decision to legalize recreational marijuana does not depend on the public opinion alone. It should also take into consideration the views of different political organizations. Therefore, relying solely on the polls is certainly not going to help.

Road to recovery

Currently, people like Attorney John Morgan are completely backing the legalization of cannabis in the country. Several reports have also revealed that organizations like Regulate Florida and Floridians for Freedom are receiving huge amount of money as donation from the masses. While Regulate Florida has received about $260,000 as donation since 2015, Floridians for Freedom has received about $28,000 in cash and kind during the same period.

Ben Pollara, who played a major role in the campaign promoting the legalization of medicinal marijuana, believes that the chances of recreational marijuana being legalized in short-term are not bright.  Moreover, he highlighted that the current republican government is not likely to enunciate such changes. Describing the challenges, he said, “I think it will happen in Florida, just like it will happen nationally, barring some major marijuana-related disasters that may cause a major shift in public opinion. However, ‘short-term’ in Florida is the next 10 years. Definitely not the next five.”

The level of marijuana addiction is quite adverse in the U.S. Therefore, it is important to take the right steps immediately to control and improve the overall situation. In case you or someone you know is addicted to marijuana or other forms of drug, contact the Florida Drug Addiction Helpline. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-982-2401 or chat online to know about the best drug rehab centers in Florida.