Petitions are hitting the streets soon for a new proposed constitutional amendment that would fully legalize marijuana use, possession and cultivation by adults in Florida.
A political action committee called Floridians For Freedom, associated with a longtime marijuana advocacy group called the Florida Cannabis Action Network, announced Tuesday it has gotten state approval to begin seeking signatures to get their measure on the November, 2016, ballot.
The measure is distinct from another constitutional drive, run by United For Care and led by Orlando lawyer John Morgan, because Morgan’s group wants to legalize marijuana for medical purposes only, while Floridians For Freedom wants it legalized for all uses.
Florida Cannabis Action Network is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1998 and based in Melbourne. Floridians For Freedom also is based in Melbourne.
The language of Floridians For Freedom’s proposed amendment is short:
“All people in the State of Florida twenty-one years of age and older shall have the right under state laws to possession, use, and cultivation of cannabis. The right shall not be infringed except that the transfer of cannabis by purchase or sale may be regulated as necessary to insure health and safety.”
Jodi James, chair of Floridians For Freedom and executive director of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, described the proposal as an effort for “ending prohibition” of marijuana under state law.
All the commercial aspects of marijuana would be controlled by rules and regulations set by the Florida Legislature and Department of Commerce, she said. She called that the group’s “end goal.”
“We want it to be legal. We want it to be regulated. We want it controlled. We want people to have safe access,” James said.
Floridians For Freedom will have to gather about 67,000 valid signatures to get the effort to the next phase, Florida Supreme Court review, to make sure the proposed amendment and ballot language meet all state requirements.
She cited the simplicity of the amendment as a strength that could help it gain Supreme Court approval.
“This is truly about the sovereignty of the individual,” she said. “Where (proposed) amendments get in trouble is when they try to legislate from the constitution. We’re not legislating from the constitution.”
That draws some distinction from Morgan’s proposal, which goes into some detail about regulation of medical marijuana.
Then the group will have to gather another 600,000 to get it qualified for the November, 2016 ballot. James noted the Florida Cannabis Action Network has 20,000 members ready to volunteer to collect signatures.
This is not the only marijuana legalization proposal in the works. A Miami man filed a proposal in May, with intentions of seeking signatures.
Source: Orlando Sentinel