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Legalize marijuana petition a step closer to making Florida’s 2020 ballot

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

A second major initiative to legalize recreational marijuana has reached the threshold for review by the Florida Supreme Court.

Make It Legal Florida, the group backed by some of the state’s biggest medical marijuana companies, has officially collected more than 77,000 verified signatures. That’s enough to trigger a review of its language by the court and analysis of its financial impact by state officials.

While the state lists only officially verified ballots, the group claims in a statement Wednesday that it’s gathered almost 390,000 total signatures since it was formed in August. That’s more than halfway to the goal of 766,200 signatures it needs by Feb. 1 to get on the 2020 ballot.

The group said the additional signatures are being shipped to elections offices, which have 30 days to verify them.

In triggering a review, the Make It Legal petition joins a separate marijuana legalization initiative by the group Regulate Florida, which reached that threshold in August. Its language has been challenged by Attorney General Ashley Moody, who contends it is too long and confusing.

Regulate Florida’s proposed amendment would broadly legalize pot and allow growing at home. Make It Legal’s amendment would work through the existing distribution system for medical cannabis, which is already legal in Florida.

Make It Legal chair Nick Hansen has said his group’s language was designed to echo the successful 2016 medical marijuana amendment so that it more easily pass judicial review.

The group also took in more than $1 million in donations in October, according to financial statements.

The marijuana distributors MedMen and Surterra, now known as Parallel, each contributed more than $500,000 during the month. The groups have spent a combined $2.8 million on the initiative so far.

Read on Orlando Sentinel:

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