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Florida’s Recreational Marijuana Initiative Is Dead

Sun Sets Over the Water in Florida
Photo by Kai Schreiber


Florida’s Recreational Marijuana Initiative Is Dead

Although there was a great deal of hope that Florida would become the first southern state in the nation to end prohibition, the decision has been made to pull the plug on this concept – at least for now. Regulate Florida, the organization working to establish a taxed and regulated cannabis industry in the Sunshine State, recently announced that their inability to collect the necessary signatures before the deadline has prompted them to abandon all hope of legalizing marijuana in 2016.

“The reality is showing us that we’re not going to get the million petitions or signatures verified by February 1,” Michael Minardi, the campaign manager for Regulate Florida, said in a statement. “We had an uphill battle, honestly with getting a million signatures realistically from the end of August until December. We did believe with the movement and the momentum that we had that we could get this done, but unfortunately, we don’t think we’re going to at this point.”

When it was announced earlier this year that Regulate Florida was going on a full-steam mission to legalize a recreational pot market, there was a lot of anticipation that the group was fully prepared to head into battle. Their initiative, a veritable war cry in the ears of the state legislature, was intended to put to rest the ineffective actions of lawmakers who have not only failed at getting a simple CBD-only medical marijuana program off the ground, but have also refused to even consider further legislative action to create a deeper level of policy reform.

Although the majority of the problem with this campaign appears to be in gathering the more than 683,000 signatures needed to earn a spot on the ballot, the real issue is obviously a lack of funding. These types of campaigns are almost impossible to run, even during the signature-collecting phase, without millions of dollars in the bank. In fact, United for Care, the group on course to legalize a comprehensive, statewide medical marijuana program next year, reportedly spent more than $4 million just to generate enough signatures in 2014 to get their failed Amendment 2 in front of voters last November.

For now, Regulate Florida says they plan to regroup, make a few minor adjustments to their proposal and work towards getting the measure on the ballot in 2018.

Yet, all is not lost for next year. United for Care is currently waiting for the Florida Supreme Court to approve the language of their latest proposal aimed at legalizing medical marijuana in the 2016 presidential election. Unlike with their previous effort, none of the organizations, including the Florida Attorney General’s office and the Florida Sheriff’s Association, have come forward to try and stop the group’s second attempt from seeing the light of day.

Once approval is granted, which is expected to happen soon, United for Care will need to collect the remaining 346,000 signatures before February to get the issue in front of voters in 2016.

The real issue is not getting the medical marijuana initiative on the ballot, it actually lies in the group’s ability to gain enough support from the voters to overcome the state’s ridiculous law of needing 60 percent approval for a ballot measure to pass. In 2014, United for Care’s Amendment 2 would have been a winner in most states, but it lost by 2 points – receiving only 58 percent of the vote.

Let’s hope United for Care has a new trick up their sleeves in 2016 to ensure the same doesn’t happen again.

Are you disappointed adult-use cannabis won’t be on the 2016 ballot in Florida? Let us know. 



  1. Michele

    December 22, 2015 at 9:12 am

    It really stinks that people who really don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about and really don’t have any skin in the game get to deprive folks from very much needed medication. My mother survived nearly two years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. If you know anything about pancreatic – most die within 3 – 6 months of diagnosis. Through multiple chemo treatments (that really just made things worse and put her in the hospital) and numerous surgeries, marijuana is what kept her alive and eating, and helped manage her pain. My mom was awake and aware and fairly comfortable until the day before she passed – and even then, peaceful sleep. I didn’t know as much about the CBD oils back then or we would have been all over that as well.

    While pot did not save her, it turned what is typically an agonizing death into an opportunity for our family to have time to say and do the things we needed to do- while allowing her to present and comfortable to make the most of her final days. Truthfully, near the end I don’t know that I would have survived without it. I think nationwide recreational use is what needs to happen. But at the very least, medical needs to be universal. It is ridiculous and inhumane to deprive people of an opportunity to have some quality of life when dealing with terminal and chronic illness.

  2. Ken Willey

    December 12, 2015 at 11:33 am

    Regulate Florida has suspended collecting petitions for their highly restrictive amendment. Floridians for Freedom is still collecting petitions for their Right of Adults to Cannabis amendment.

    • Anonymous

      December 13, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      Nobody wants medical marijuana. We want recreational marijuana. They know this and this was part of their plan all along. The reason Florida will never legalize it, is because the law and senior citizens think its a paradise for them and they are trying to run all marijuana users out of the state to places like Colorado. They are trying to make Florida as boring as possible. This causes Florida to stay poor too, so that all the young people will leave and so the law and elderly will have Florida all to themselves. They know that keeping marijuana illegal causes the legal marijuana states to gain huge profits and causes the economy of Florida and other legal marijuana states to go down the drain. This creates a nice 99.99% law and senior citizen state. Clearly, this should not be allowed. Marijuana needs to be legal nationwide. It is hypocritical to allow only some people of America to use it legally while jailing others for it. Also, our government leaders have the power to legalize it nationwide, but they are enjoying the quadruple shammy profit from tax dollars from everyone having to move to legal marijuana states, profit from medical marijuana sales, profit from recreational marijuana sales and for jailing people for it. It is all a sham and we should not be treated this way!

  3. Maria Gutierrez

    December 12, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Hello: I’m a 61 yr old woman who has never even seen marijuana & or any drugs that still are passed around & sold! I was against all that!
    Now, after a huge brain tumor was removed 4 yrs. ago, but not before damaging 17 inches of spinal nerves that have left me in excruciating pain, even after taking enormous amounts of Oxycodone (ruining stomach) for my severe neuropathy ! Have tried Everything for pain relief with No Success.
    Was hoping to try Medical Marijuana as a last resort.
    These low informed iIdiots that continue to deny making Medical Marijuana in a controlled legal, manner, obviously have no young children or close family members in desperate need or severe pain with no other choice for relief!!!
    My wish for them this holiday season is that These Heartless People personally experience the tragic events we are : the excruciating pain, the endless seizures, and all the suffering & zero quality of life we are living because of their Stupidity!
    May God open their brains, eyes & hearts; and if not, may they & their loved ones suffer what we are suffering,
    as we wait for Medical Marijuana becomes legal in Florida. If they or their families were suffering like us, they would have passed the laws Years ago!

    They will probably legalize Beastiality before Charlotte’s Web! That’s the way these Morons prioritize!!!!!!

  4. Colby wise

    December 12, 2015 at 2:16 am

    Your article discusses Reg. Fl.’s dead initiative as if it is the only non-medicinal amendment. I am on the board of Floridians For Freedom. The sponsors of initiative #15-20. The only amendment that actually ends prohibition. Making possession, growing and personal use a RIGHT for 21 and older without restrictive limits.
    We have thousands of signed petitions all ready verified. We’re not slowing down until the deadline, hope is still alive. Both signatures and petitions will be valid for 18′ ballot if we don’t qualify for 16′.
    Please tell our more hopeful story.

    • Michele

      December 22, 2015 at 9:18 am

      Colby, I’m a FL resident. I feel pretty strongly marijuana legalization and I’d like to help. Can you post a website link?

  5. Michael Minardi

    December 11, 2015 at 6:57 pm

    We will make change in Florida. We will be doing everything possible to get the new language approved by March of 2016, and have almost 2 years to collect the necessary signatures, not merely 6 months.
    Regulate Florida is committed to not only getting our initiative on the ballot but getting it passed in 2018. We need action not apathy and support not cynicism. We must stand together.
    #Together We Can!

    Michael C. Minardi, Esq.
    Chairman, Regulate Florida

  6. pissed offin florida

    December 11, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    well that settles it. Colorado here we more year in the mundane state and we are out of here. sucks that florida has decied to stay backwards thinking.

  7. John Tucker III

    December 11, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    With this news I will be moving out of Florida asap. Florida continues to show that it is not a “forward thinking” state. Other states have proved (without a doubt) that marijuana has both medicinal and economical benefits and Florida continues to ignore that (probably because there’s big money in pharmaceutical drugs here with the elderly).

  8. Edward White

    December 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Nothing will change until we get the GOP’s strangle hold on our state government, and vote out Scott and Bondi and some backwards representatives

  9. Buddy Wolfe

    December 11, 2015 at 12:22 pm

    There should have been some recourse that we could taken at 58%. However with our current state government that was not going to happen. Governor Scott could and should just pass it on his own. Everyone knows the effects and the amount of revenue it can generate for any number of programs. Its time for all these hypocrite law makers to get with the program.

  10. Emil Fiore

    December 11, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    That’s a damme shame. Those old folk could really use it.

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