Last month, we ranked Florida as the second most likely state to legalize marijuana. Today, New Times Broward-Palm Beach has given credence to our prediction with news that the “Florida Cannabis Act” is possibly coming soon.
West Palm Beach lawyer Michael Minardi is leading the charge and got the go-ahead to obtain the 683,149 verified voter signatures needed to put the initiative on the November 2016 ballot. Along with attorney Bill Wohlsifer and marijuana activist Karen Goldstein, Minardi has started Regulate Florida. Their proposal would mirror what’s been successful in Colorado: Adults (21+) could buy and posses up to an ounce of weed, and licensed growers could keep up to six plants in their home. Nobody, of course, could drive while high.
Initiatives to legalize marijuana have failed in Florida in the past, including a 2014 bill in the state legislature that went nowhere. Minardi, however, isn’t preaching any hippie-dippie shit. He’s got cold hard facts. He says he’ll cite stats from Colorado that both crime rates and teenage weed consumption have gone down since legalization. Not to mention the $44 million in taxes it’s raked in during the first five months of 2015. And like any good pseudo-politician, he’s pulling at some heartstrings, too: “The focus is definitely going to be all about protecting our children.”
The reality of legalization is that states will do it if it helps the economy. The “it’s better for you than alcohol” arguments don’t resonate with citizens and politcians as much as “you’ll have lower taxes.” Florida’s got nothing to lose. Florida Man always seems to be getting into some kinda trouble. Maybe he’ll mellow out a bit with legalization.