Throughout the run of this column, readers have routinely chimed in to ask about the evolution of our state’s cannabis scene. Ever since Amendment 2 went into effect in January 2017, most everyone has wanted to know when–and if–Florida would make the jump from medical marijuana to recreational reefer. Hard answers have been elusive, for the most part. However, a recent stroll through historic St. Augustine went a long way toward clarifying those matters.
It has always been the presumption that pro-pot activists would attempt a petition drive to get medical marijuana on the ballot in 2020–an effort that, one assumes, would be successful. Yet I had heard nothing specific until last Wednesday, and it happened entirely at random. “Medium” Jim Minion and I were walking to Casa de Vino 57 for #FindYourFolio Happy Hour gathering (nice place, by the way) when we encountered a young man with a clipboard in his hand and a dream in his heart. He was pushing petitions to legalize the stuff recreationally. We, of course, filled them out while he brought me up to speed on the matter.
As it turns out, the petition drive was launched last June. The fact that neither you nor I had heard a word about it until now is not a good sign, of course. Our interlocutor explained that his merry band of pot activists–they’re called Regulate Florida–is vastly understaffed and thus generating signatures at a disappointing pace. They have until Feb. 1, 2020 to produce 750,000 signatures. In the past 10 months, they’ve gotten only about 20,000. Surely that will change as they build momentum and money-marks affix themselves to the cause. Between Surterra, Knox and Trulieve, the weed lobby should have no problem finding funds to float more volunteers up in them streets. One would expect guys like John Morgan and good ol’ Roger Stone to start publicizing these efforts as we get into summer.
I’ve looked around and asked around in the days since, but so far, no one I know has seen any petitions being collected anywhere except in St. Augustine. Nothing in Five Points, nothing at the Beach(es) and nothing Downtown at ArtWalk–not yet, anyway. But, folks, this is the only path forward at the mo. Remember, a recent bill to fully legalize died a quiet death in the state legislature a couple weeks ago, as Governor Ron DeSantis was mum on the matter.
At the current pace, Regulate Florida needs to average about 2,600 signatures every day for the next 10 months to make the ballot. If it happens, if voters are given the choice, passage seems inevitable. But crunch time is coming (actually, it’s already here), and Regulate Florida needs all the help it can get. If you’d like to sign up, or to help others sign up, go to regulateflorida.com and get those deets, dilly-dilly, be he a stud or she be a filly. If you support full legalization–and I know you do–then it’s all hands on deck. NOW!
(Note: We’re debuting a semi-regular Folio Weed segment on WJCT’s First Coast Connect. The first one is at 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 17, and then one airs every couple weeks thereafter. Segments will be archived online at wjct.org. Tell us what you think!)