Florida Advocates Begin Collecting Signatures on Initiative to Legalize Cannabis

floridainitiativeAdvocates of a Florida initiative to legalize the possession, personal cultivation and distribution of cannabis by reclassifying it as a dietary supplement have begun collecting signatures with the goal of putting the measure to a vote next year.

The Cannabis as a Dietary Supplement for Personal and Medical Use; Funding for Teacher Salaries Act, put forth by the Florida Organization of Reform, would allow those 21 and older to possess up to three ounces of cannabis, and cultivate up to ten cannabis plants. Cannabis retail outlets would also be allowed, with the Department of Business handling licensing, and with a majority if the taxes going to fund teacher salaries.

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Cannabis Decriminalization Bill Approved by Florida’s Largest County

miami-dadeCommissioners of Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county (with a population of over 2.6 million), have voted to allow police to give a simple civil infraction for the possession of cannabis rather than arresting and charging them.

Under current law, the possession of up to 20 grams of cannabis is a misdemeanor which carries with it a potential year long prison sentence. The new law, approved 10 to 3, gives police the option of issuing an $100 civil infraction for those caught possessing no more than 20 grams. This would mean the individual would not be arrested or charged with a crime.

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Legislation to Legalize Recreational Cannabis Filed in Florida

Florida Stateflorida Senator Dwight Bullard filed Senate Bill 1176 this week, a proposal to legalize the possession, private cultivation and state-licensed distribution of recreational cannabis for those 21 and older.

Senate Bill 1176 would allow those 21 and older to possess up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, and to cultivate up to six cannabis plants. Cannabis retail outlets would also be allowed, with the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco being renamed the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and put in charge of regulations for the cannabis production and distribution centers.

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Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis Filed in Florida

United for Careflorida, the group behind Florida’s Amendment 2 which failed narrowly in last year’s general election despite receiving 58% of the vote (it needed 60% as it was a constitutional amendment), has filed a new initiative with the Secretary of State with the goal of putting it to a vote of the people in 2016. The proposal would legalize the possession and use of medical cannabis for those with debilitating conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS, and would authorize dispensaries to distribute the medicine.

“Last time I did this, it was like a maze,” says John Morgan, head of United for Care who put in over $4 million of his own money into putting medical cannabis to a vote in 2014, and advertising for its passage. “Well, I’ve been through it once. I know how to do this. We made a lot of mistakes and we won’t make them this time.”

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