A Campaign for Legalized Recreational Use of Marijuana in Florida Is Being Led by Trulieve and The Bellamy Brothers

Toby Hazlewood

900,000 signatures to put it on the 2024 ballot

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A proposal was filed with the Department of Elections in Florida on August 8, calling for the legalizing of marijuana for recreational purposes. If approved the proposal would allow people over the age of 21 to legally possess, purchase and use marijuana products for non-medical purposes.

The Smart & Safe Florida initiative is being jointly sponsored by Florida's largest medical marijuana corporation - Trulieve - in co-operation with the renowned country music duo The Bellamy Brothers who on August 8 released a video sharing their thoughts on the subject.

Trulieve have reportedly donated $5 million in support of the initiative, and it's expected that other medical marijuana firms will join them in providing support. For the proposed amendment to be included on the 2024 ballot, it still needs to accumulate 900,000 signatures in support.

Giving Floridians the same rights as 140 million other Americans

According the video from Floridians Howard and David Bellamy, the case for legalization of marijuana in Florida is a compelling one:

"More than 140 million Americans already have the freedom to partake in responsible cannabis use and it is past time for Florida to provide its law-abiding adults the same privilege."

Earlier in 2022, Florida's lawmakers considered House Bill 679 to broaden access to marijuana in the state, but the bill died in the Professions and Public Health sub-committee. The bill had bipartisan support which suggests that there could be support for the law to be changed in the future.

Medical marijuana is big business in Florida

Medical marijuana is a booming industry in the Sunshine State and earlier this month another corporation that's been established to meet demand for the product - Kush.com - relocated its headquarters to Tampa.

A report from May 3 suggests that the number of registered medical marijuana users in the state has more than doubled since the start of 2020, with over 700,000 registered legal users.

According to Javier Hasse, of Benzinga - a firm that tracks business trends:

“Cannabis is one of the few industries in the world that grew during the pandemic. Home deliveries and the fact that it was declared essential in the U.S. really helped, but deep down people were looking for something to deal with stress.”

Nikki Fried is an advocate for legalized marijuana

Amongst the registered users is Democrat Nikki Fried, current Agriculture Commissioner and gubernatorial election candidate. Fried apparently uses medical marijuana to help her manage a sleep disorder.

Fried may also be strongly in favor of marijuana given that her partner is part-owner of a number of medical marijuana businesses. She recently tweeted that as governor she would seek to make the drug fully legal.

Whether she gets the opportunity to become governor will of course initially depend on the outcomes of Democratic primaries for the gubernatorial election later this month. If she were successful, a recent poll suggests that Governor DeSantis may not be as certain to win a second term as many have previously believed.

What do you think about the prospect of legalized marijuana for recreational purposes in Florida? Would you be in favor, or do you think that it's problematic? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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