Bid to legalize recreational marijuana will not make it on 2016 ballot in Florida - Florida Politics

Bid to legalize recreational marijuana will not make it on 2016 ballot in Florida

Regulate Florida, the group aiming to get a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Florida in 2016 that would legalize recreational pot, is ending its campaign. Members acknowledge they will not be able to obtain the more than 683,000 signatures needed to qualify for the ballot by February.

Supporters were told Wednesday night via a conference call from Michael Minardi, the Jupiter-based attorney and campaign manager for Regulate Florida.

“The reality is showing us that we’re not going to get the million petitions or signatures verified by February 1,” Minardi said. “We had an uphill battle, honestly with getting a million signatures realistically from the end of August until December. We did believe with the movement and the momentum that we had that we could get this done, but unfortunately, we don’t think we’re going to at this point.”

Organizers of Regulate Florida tried to have Florida be the first state to go straight to legalizing marijuana without first having passed a medical marijuana law.

The bid for medical marijuana in Florida received over 57 percent of the vote in 2014, shy of the 60 percent required for a citizen-based constitutional amendment from passage. United for Care, the same group led by Orlando attorney John Morgan that led the effort last year, is working hard on attempting the get the measure on the Florida November ballot in 2016.

Minardi said that he was optimistic about getting the measure to legalize recreational marijuana 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 with those donors next year.  He said he’s also hoping to get a Supreme Court review of the ballot language by next summer.

Karen Goldstein with Regulate Florida (who also heads the Florida chapter of NORML), told supporters on the call that the Regulate Florida intends to make some “minor” changes with the ballot language, and thus implored volunteers to destroy any current;y unsigned petitions.

Minardi said the group will be supportive of that effort, saying that its passage will help educate the people of Florida about the safety and efficiency of cannabis as a whole.

Goldstein also urged supporters who like to get out and petition to pick up some United for Care petitions to help get that initiative on the 2016 ballot. “We still need to get medical marijuana on the ballot in 2016. We still need to support, as we have all along, the United for Care effort.”.

“I have great respect for Mike Minardi and Karen Goldstein and anyone who undertakes the Herculean task of placing a constitutional amendment on the Florida ballot,” said Ben Pollara, director for United for Care. “I’m sorry their campaign didn’t end up the way they wanted it to. I hope this means they’ll return their full focus and energy to passing medical marijuana in 2016.”

“I would like to add our heartfelt thanks to all of you, ” said Goldstein to supporters on the call on Wednesday night. “We are going to come back stronger, and we’re going to get it done.”

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at mitch.perry@floridapolitics.com.

10 Comments

  1. By the way…there are still 2 other groups collecting signatures to get an initiative on the ballot for recreational cannabis. Floridians for Freedom, and Florida Organization for Reform.

  2. The “War on Marijuana” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Marijuana”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Marijuana has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Marijuana is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Even The President of the United States has used marijuana. Has it hurt his chances at succeeding in life? If he had gotten caught by the police during his college years, he may have very well still been in prison today! Beyond that, he would then be fortunate to even be able to find a minimum wage job that would consider hiring him with a permanent criminal record. Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less marijuana “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide! Support Each and Every Marijuana Legalization Initiative!

    1. Politicians who continue to demonize Marijuana, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Marijuana possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through Marijuana home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose marijuana, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

      The People have spoken! Get on-board with Marijuana Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

      Legalize Nationwide!

      1. There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

        The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority and rapidly shrinking percentage of Americans. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

        Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

        Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The vast majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

        With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

        Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

        Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

  3. Could you do a mass mailing requesting signatures and voter ID, plus enclose a prepaid addressed envelope to gather the signatures needed ?

  4. I had lots of people decide not to sign the petition because of fear; fear of providing there address.

  5. Florida is now a paradise for senior citizens and the law and they are trying to make us move to legal marijuana states, in which, they can keep dreaming, because I am not driving 1,800 or more miles. Legalize it Florida, so you will make billions of dollars or go fuck yourself. I am not leaving.

  6. I’m a 100% disabled veteran I’ve lived in Fl over 13 yrs….I believe it’s never going to pass rec or medicinal…I’ll stick buying from the hood and take my chances……

  7. My son was sentenced for close to 5 years for his 1st violation for smoking pot by Judge Usan. This is very extreme, the same judge has done the same to others. That needs to stop

  8. all floridia wants is a bunch of drunks here in floridia instead of potheads im a pothead and pround of it legalizing weed would do wonders for florida they wouldnt have to worrie about were to get money to build schools fix our roads instead of bringing spring breakers here to mess up the beautiful beaches floridia stop being stupid about it legalize weed

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