Three proposed constitutional amendments would legalize marijuana for recreational use if approved by Florida voters in November 2016.
But before they get on the ballot, organizers have to collect at least 683,149 valid signature on each of their respective petitions.
One, submitted in July, would legalize recreational use for those 18 years old and older. Two others were approved by the Florida Division of Elections on Wednesday, and one simply sought to legalize the possession, use and cultivation of cannabis by anyone 21 and older, leaving all regulation up in the air.
The other petition that was approved Wednesday was the most comprehensive of the three. The four-page proposed Constitutional amendment would legalize use of marijuana for adults ages 21 and older and regulate it in a way similar to alcohol.
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The amendment, called the Florida Cannabis Act by the political committee Sensible Florida Inc., still needs 683,149 signatures to qualify for the ballot. If it gets enough approved signatures by the deadline of Feb. 1, 2016, then the attorney general would request an advisory decision from the Florida Supreme Court to determine if the language of the ballot initiative complies with Florida law on ballots.
If the proposed amendment passes those steps, it would then get on the November 2016 ballot and would require 60 percent of the vote to become an amendment to the Florida Constitution.
In addition to those three proposed Constitutional amendments that could appear on the ballot in 2016. United for Care has been circulating its petition for medical marijuana approval since January. It had 43,259 valid signatures as of Thursday, and the campaign has said they have hundreds of thousands of signatures that have not been validated.
The Florida Cannabis Act has a section that says its language would not have any weight on any enacted medical marijuana provisions.
In addition to only allowing use by those 21 and older, it also would limit possession to one ounce at a time and allow only the cultivation of six plants per household member over the age of 21. Only three marijuana plants could be mature or flowering, and only those with retail licenses could sell cannabis.
The proposed amendment would not allow adults to drive under the influence of cannabis and would not require employers to permit or accommodate its use. The language also specifies that it would not limit the state's authority to tax marijuana and that counties would be able to enact ordinances on where retail marijuana facilities could operate within their jurisdictions.
Kate Irby, Herald online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055. You can follow her on Twitter@KateIrby