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Florida Marijuana Legalization Campaign Releases New Statewide Ad Warning Of Dangers Of Unregulated Cannabis

The campaign behind a marijuana legalization ballot measure in Florida released a new ad in support of Amendment 3 this week, arguing that cannabis currently available on the state’s illicit market is dangerously unregulated.

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“Most Florida marijuana is illegal, produced by criminals and can be laced with dangerous drugs like fentanyl,” a woman says, described in a campaign press release as “a Florida mom and voter who believes adult Floridians deserve the individual freedom to consume safe, tested adult-use marijuana.”

Titled “Fact,” the 30-second ad is set to air statewide “across broadcast, cable, streaming, radio and digital platforms,” according to the campaign, Smart & Safe Florida.

Teen Marijuana Use Has Declined In Washington Since Legalization


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“Millions of Floridians use marijuana. It’s a fact,” it says. “Most Americans have access to legal marijuana that is regulated and tested for safety, but not Florida.”

Amendment 3, which will appear before voters in November, “gives adults access to legal, safe marijuana and the freedom to make their own choices while generating billions for schools and police,” it adds.

Last month, the campaign released an earlier set of four ads supporting the marijuana legalization ballot measure.

Kim Rivers, the chief executive of the multi-state cannabis operator Trulieve, the main financial backer of the campaign, last month challenged surveys that have been released recent weeks that showed flagging support for the measure, reiterating that internal polls show initiative passing with a comfortable margin despite the steep 60 percent threshold required to approve a constitutional amendment.

And notwithstanding Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) push against the proposal, Rivers said she’s confident DeSantis will respect the will of the people and implement the legalization initiative if voters approve it at the ballot.

A new outlet in the state recently reported that DeSantis is planning to veto a legislative bill that would ban consumable hemp-derived cannabinoid products such as delta-8 THC, reportedly because he’s hoping the hemp industry will help finance a campaign opposing Amendment 3.

Late last month, Florida trial attorney and Democratic fundraiser John Morgan, who spent more than $8 million to help pass medical marijuana legalization in 2016, threw his support behind the adult-use proposal.

“This is not my amendment,” he said at a press conference held at the Morgan and Morgan law offices in downtown Orlando. “I have given my advice, I’ve given my help, but I have not given my money for this.”

Smart & Safe Florida separately announced in March that it was working to form a coalition of veterans to build voter support for the reform, and the campaign has since formally launched that initiative.

DeSantis also previously predicted voters will reject the marijuana initiative in November and argued that passage would “reduce the quality of life” in the state.

While the campaign and companies backing the measure remain optimistic about its prospects this November, recent surveys continue to raise questions about that possibility.

For example, a survey that was done for the Florida Chamber of Commerce by Cherry Communications found that 58 percent of Florida likely voters back the legalization measure, compared to 37 percent who oppose it and five percent who are undecided. As Rivers pointed out recently, however, the chamber has actively opposed the initiative.

While the campaign hasn’t shared its internal polling, it is the case that prior surveys have shown the initiative in a more comfortable position than the two most recent public polls did. A University of North Florida (UNF) poll released last November found nearly 70 percent of voters are in favor of the reform, for example.

Economic analysts from the Florida legislature and DeSantis’s office, estimate that the marijuana legalization initiative would generate between $195.6 million and $431.3 million in new sales tax revenue annually if voters enact it. Those figures could increase considerably if lawmakers opted to impose an additional excise tax on cannabis transactions that’s similar to the ones in place in other legalized states.

If approved, the measure would change the state Constitution to allow existing medical cannabis companies in the state, such as Trulieve, the campaign’s main financial contributor, to begin selling marijuana to all adults over 21. It contains a provision that would allow—but not require—lawmakers to take steps toward the approval of additional businesses. Home cultivation by consumers would not be allowed under the proposal as drafted.

Adults would be able to purchase and possess up to one ounce of cannabis, only five grams of which could be marijuana concentrate products. The three-page measure also omits equity provisions favored by advocates, such as expungements or other relief for people with prior cannabis convictions.

Nearly all of the campaign’s financial backing has come from existing medical marijuana businesses, predominantly multi-state operators. Recently, the Florida Division of Elections (DOE) released the campaign finance activity report from the first quarter of the year, showing nearly $15 million in new contributions.

Trulieve, the main financial backer of the initiative, led the pack again with $9.225 million in donations during the first quarter. That follows the company previously contributing about $40 million as advocates worked to collect more than one million signatures to qualify for ballot placement.

The company’s CEO also said recently that, contrary to the governor’s claims, legalization could actually “improve quality of life” for residents.

  • Adults 21 and older could purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use. The cap for marijuana concentrates would be five grams.

  • Medical cannabis dispensaries could “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute marijuana products and marijuana accessories to adults for personal use.”

  • The legislature would be authorized—but not required—to approve additional entities that are not currently licensed cannabis dispensaries.

  • The initiative specifies that nothing in the proposal prevents the legislature from “enacting laws that are consistent with this amendment.”

  • The amendment further clarifies that nothing about the proposal “changes federal law,” which seems to be an effort to avoid past legal challenges about misleading ballot language.

  • There are no provisions for home cultivation, expungement of prior records or social equity.

  • The measure would take effect six months following approval by voters.

Here’s the full text of the ballot title and summary:

“Allows adults 21 years or older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise; allows Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and other state licensed entities, to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute such products and accessories.

Applies to Florida law; does not change, or immunize violations of, federal law. Establishes possession limits for personal use. Allows consistent legislation. Defines terms. Provides effective date.”

Despite his opposition to the initiative, DeSantis, a former GOP presidential candidate who dropped out of the race in January, previously accurately predicted that the state’s highest court would ultimately allow the measure on November’s ballot.



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