Sensible Florida, one of the two groups in the state seeking to put adult-use cannabis legalization on the 2020 ballots, has suspended its campaign, Capitol News Service reports. The suspension comes despite the group gathering enough signatures to have their petition language reviewed by the state Supreme Court but the organization didn’t raise enough funds to keep their campaign alive.
Taylor Biehl. with the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida, told CNS that the group had only raised $200,000 and “had some reservations coalescing the industry support.” She added that the campaign’s initiative – which would have completely overhauled the state’s current medical cannabis regime in addition to regulating cannabis like alcohol – was “kind of doomed from the onset trying to do too much.”
The shuttering of the campaign means the citizen initiative by Make it Legal Florida will be the only option for Florida voters if it makes it to the ballot. That initiative is backed by two medical cannabis companies and has a war chest of $3.7 million. Their initiative is simpler than their now-defunct counterparts’ and would allow adults 21 or older to “possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason.” Make it Legal Florida submitted enough signatures last month to the Division of Elections to trigger the state Supreme Court review of the proposed ballot language. The group needs a total of 766,200 signatures by February to put the question on the General Election ballots next year.
“They’ve focused on spending money on mail to garner the signatures. It’s costly, but it’s effective and when you’re working on a truncated timeline it certainly very well may prove to be a genius campaign move.” – Biehl, in an interview with CNS
In 2016, Florida voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of medical cannabis in the state – 71 percent to 29 percent – but the law was subsequently amended in the Legislature and is barely recognizable to what voters approved on Election Day.
It’s unclear whether Sensible Florida will back the efforts of their former competition but the lack of a competing proposal could favor Make it Legal Florida as voters won’t have to choose between two different proposals that, effectively, do the same thing.