Regulate Florida is pulling the plug on its campaign to get a constitutional amendment to legalize recreational pot on the ballot in Florida in 2016. Campaign manager Michael Minardi let supporters know in a conference call Wednesday they won't be able to get the 683,000+ signatures needed by February to qualify for the ballot.
Regulate Florida's proposal would have seen cannabis regulated like alcohol. Adults aged 21+ could have possessed up to one ounce, grew up to six plants in their residences, or given cannabis to others. Residents would not have been permitted to sell what they grow at home, and they would have been required to keep plants locked away from the public eye and underage consumers.
But with numerous Florida groups pitching legalization initiatives, perhaps there's some petition-signing fatigue among the electorate.
Kris Krane, a managing partner at 4Front Advisors, a cannabis consulting firm, expressed concerns with the Florida initiatives in an interview with the Herald Tribune. Given that 2016 will see groups in California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine competing with Florida's activists for attention and funding, he expressed concerns that "the movement is spreading itself thin."
Legalization advocates now looking toward 2018
Florida Politics reports that Minardi remains optimistic about getting the measure on the ballot in 2018. He said he had some "soft commitments" from donors for that campaign already, and said he hopes to sign contracts next year. He said he's also hoping to get a Supreme Court review of the ballot language by next summer.
In an interview with Michael Pollick of The Herald Tribune, Matt Karnes of GreenWave Advisors LLC, a firm specializing in cannabis market research, noted that America's third most-populated state stands to make billions in the marijuana market. He projected that Florida would reap approximately $1-billion in its first year of legalized cannabis sales.
In the meantime, Karen Goldstein of Regulate Florida is throwing her support behind United for Care's petition to legalize medicinal cannabis in the Sunshine State.
"We still need to get medical marijuana on the ballot in 2016," she told supporters in the conference call. "We still need to support, as we have all along, the United for Care effort."