Anyone hoping that Florida voters would get a shot at legalizing recreational marijuana in 2018 will likely be disappointed.
Organizers of the two primary efforts to get the issue on the state’s Nov. 6 ballot say they won’t come close to collecting the required 766,000 petition signatures by the Feb. 1 deadline.
And a decision last week by Attorney Jeff Sessions to repeal an Obama-era hands-off policy toward states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana could pour cold water on similar initiatives. Now, the Justice Department is free to go after marijuana cultivation and distribution in states where the drug is legal.
Still, the groups hope that 2020 will be their year.
“We’re going to continue on,” said Michael Minardi, a Tampa attorney who leads Regulate Florida, which is proposing a constitutional amendment that would allow Floridians over the age of 21 to use, cultivate and sell marijuana. “We’re excited about 2020. Because we know that the people are on our side.”
Minardi said last week that his group likely has collected at least 40,000 signatures.
He said Regulate Florida hopes to gather enough by February to trigger a state Supreme Court review of their proposed amendment language — a key step in eventually getting a measure on the ballot. Though that would require more than 36,000 more signatures. [Read more at Tallahassee Democrat]