Pot legalization in Florida faces toughest test yet

florida cannabis

The campaign to legalize adult-use cannabis in Florida is heating up. Proponents (mostly large-scale marijuana operator Trulieve) have already sunk tens of millions into the effort, and over one million Floridians signed petitions in support of the ballot measure. Florida is already one of the biggest medical marijuana markets in the country, and with over 100 million tourists visiting every year, the stakes are high for legal pot in the Sunshine State.

However, Governor Ron DeSantis has come out as a staunch opponent of the legalization effort. He’s made repeated comments on the state smelling like cannabis and has warned that people will be “toking up in front of elementary schools.” Now, DeSantis may have more ammo in his effort to defeat the measure—the Florida GOP.

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The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) has announced it’s officially against Amendment 3, aligning with the GOP governor. At the same time, the group affirmed its opposition to Amendment 4, which would offer protections for abortion access.

“Floridians are confident that their legislature has been passing laws that reflect the priorities of our state,” RPOF Chair Evan Power said in a statement. “Amendments 3 and 4 are unnecessary attempts by an increasingly shrinking minority who know the only way to win support for their radical agenda is to confuse and mislead the electorate.”

The decision will enable DeSantis to raise funds for campaigns encouraging “No” votes in November. The measures both require 60 percent “Yes” votes to pass. Representatives of Smart & Safe Florida, the group campaigning in support of Amendment 3, remained hopeful despite the GOP position.

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“The decision to authorize the use of adult-use cannabis will be made by the citizens of Florida at the ballot box — not at a gathering of political insiders,” Smart & Safe communications director Morgan Hill told local media. Amendment 3 has wide bipartisan support because Floridians know legalization means accountability, transparency, and safety,” said.

According to a recent poll, the cannabis legalization measure is supported by roughly 56 percent of registered voters and 49 percent of all Florida adults. The showdown with the state GOP means local pot advocates likely face an uphill battle. However, a growing number of Republicans are coming out in favor of cannabis legalization, meaning the Florida vote is still anyone’s game.

rachelle gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist, Emerald Cup judge, Budist critic, and editor of GreenState.com. She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter