After past adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives in Florida failed to reach the ballot, Trulieve, one of the state’s largest medical cannabis operators, and The Bellamy Brothers, a country music act, have filed a new proposed constitutional amendment to legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older.
The measure was filed Aug. 8 at the state Division of Elections, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The proposed constitutional amendment, the “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” would allow those 21 and older “to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana services for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise,” the news outlet reported.
Also included in the measure is language to allow “medical marijuana treatment centers, and other state licensed entities, to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute such products and accessories,” according to the Sun-Sentinel.
The proposal could also remove vertical integration requirements that have governed the state’s medical cannabis industry and mandated that Florida’s “medical marijuana treatment centers” control the entire supply chain from cultivation to retail, the news outlet reported.
Trulieve contributed $5 million to the effort, according to the Sun-Sentinel, and other multistate operators are expected to support the campaign, as well, to get the proposal before voters in the 2024 election.
Musician David Bellamy is heading the Smart & Safe Florida political committee, the news outlet reported, and the initiative needs roughly 900,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
“It’s all about improving access,” Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers told the Sun-Sentinel. “We came into this with a mission to provide access to high-quality products that are safe and have an appropriate value proposition to give folks control over their—in the original days—medical journey. I don’t think that changes here. I mean, in effect we are, at our core, about expanding the opportunity for access to safe, legal product, which is what this would allow us to continue to do.”
If the measure lands on the 2024 ballot and ultimately wins voter approval, lawmakers would be able to enact laws to structure the adult-use industry, according to the Sun-Sentinel.
“Any amendment in the state of Florida has to be very careful in terms of single subjects with this court and so I do know, speaking with the lawyers, that there was a very high focus on keeping this really focused around authorizing adult use and then allowing the Legislature to develop policy,” Rivers told the news outlet.
Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2016 to legalize medical cannabis in the state, and roughly 800,000 patients are enrolled in the program, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The Florida Supreme Court rejected two previous adult-use cannabis legalization initiatives last year, according to the news outlet.
One, supported by the Make it Legal committee, was rejected in April 2021 after the court ruled that the proposal could mislead voters, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
The other, backed by Sensible Florida, would have regulated cannabis similar to alcohol, but the court ruled in a 5-2 decision in June 2021 that that ballot summary also had the potential to mislead voters, according to the news outlet.
Rivers told the Sun-Sentinel that attorneys have analyzed the Florida Supreme Court’s rulings while drafting the latest adult-use cannabis legalization initiative.
Trulieve has also contributed $250,000 to Sensible Florida, which filed a new adult-use measure for the 2024 ballot that has so far amassed less than 23,000 signatures, the Sun-Sentinel reported.