FLORIDA — With strong indications that a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana will appear on the 2020 statewide ballot, a political committee has been created to oppose that effort.
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Organizers say that Floridians Against Recreational Marijuana (FARM) has been formed to defeat whom they label as “out-of-state corporate interests” attempting to bring recreational pot to Floridians.
“Our coalition has come together to defeat this dangerous ballot initiative, which will drive an increase in healthcare prices, increase costs on businesses and kill jobs, and increase the burden on tax payers that will pay for the costs associated with recreational marijuana,” said Brian Swensen, who will be leading the effort.
Swensen was the campaign manager for Republican Matt Caldwell in his bid for Agriculture Commissioner in 2018. He also helped Ron DeSantis with voter turnout in the last few months of his successful campaign for governor, and served as deputy campaign manager for Marco Rubio’s successful reelection bid for U.S. Senate in 2016.
“The mega-marijuana corporate interests backing this initiative hope to transform Florida into a state like Oregon, California and Colorado by passing this reckless recreational marijuana amendment,” Swensen added in a press release.
While there are currently three separate efforts attempting to get recreational marijuana on the ballot next year, there is really only one group – Make It Legal Florida – who appears to have a legitimate chance of coming before the voters in 2020.
Organizers with Make it Legal Florida announced last week that it had officially reached the required 76,632 signatures to trigger a judicial review of their constitutional amendment language before the Florida Supreme Court. It has raised over $2.7 million since forming in August, according to the state Division of Elections, and has spent almost as much as of October 31.
“Make it Legal Florida is proud to stand with the supermajority of Floridians who want expanded access to safe, well-regulated cannabis,” said Nick Hansen, Chairman of Make it Legal. “We look forward to making the ballot in 2020 and giving voters the opportunity to be heard on this important issue.”
Make it Legal Florida is primarily backed by two companies with a vested interest in the legal access of marijuana being expanded in Florida: California-based MedMen and Surterra, based in Atlanta. Both currently hold medical marijuana licenses in Florida.
A University of North Florida poll of 666 voters released last month shows that 64 percent support legalization of “small amounts” of marijuana, with 33 percent opposed and 3 percent undecided.
If the measure were to make it on the ballot, it would need support of at least 60 percent of the voters to make it into the state Constitution.