Recreational weed group hits signature-gathering milestone

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A citizen group that wants to let Floridians decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana announced today that its petition drive has cleared a significant hurdle.

The Regulate Florida group says it has collected enough signatures – 77,891, according to the state Division of Elections – to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the proposed state constitutional amendment language.

“This is a milestone in Florida and we are dedicated to getting this on the ballot in 2020,” the group said in a written statement. “We have a long way to go to get it on the ballot, but we will get it done together.”

If the language is approved by the Supreme Court, the campaign has to collect 766,200 validated voter signatures by Feb. 1 to place the amendment before voters in November 2020. The amendment would need to be approved by at least 60 percent of voters.

The amendment would allow Floridians over the age of 21 to grow, purchase and use marijuana. The drug would be regulated and taxed by the state like the regulation of alcohol sales, according to Regulate Florida.

Floridians already have access to medical marijuana under a constitutional amendment, approved by more than 71 percent of the voters in 2016. But the drug is restricted to patients with certain medical conditions that must be certified by a doctor.

Another petition drive to legalize recreational marijuana has not advanced as far as the Regulate Florida group. The Floridians for Freedom group has collected 24,567 voter signatures as of Tuesday for its proposed constitutional amendment, according to the state Division of Elections.

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