Recreational pot groups in Florida are having a hard time meeting signature deadlines

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Backers of a recreational-marijuana legalization effort announced Monday their proposal will not be on Florida's 2020 ballot – though a separate legalization drive continues.

In an email to supporters Monday, leaders of the "Regulate Florida" ballot initiative, which called for the state to regulate marijuana in the same way as alcohol, acknowledged they would not collect the necessary petition signatures before a Feb. 1 deadline. Because the signatures have to be verified by elections officials prior to the deadline, petitions need to be submitted by Jan. 1, said the Regulate Florida board of directors in the email.

"The sad reality is that we are not going to be able to meet that deadline," Michael Minardi, the chairman of the political committee behind the proposal, and other board members said in the message. The group announced it isn't giving up on legalizing pot and is turning its attention to the legislative session that begins Jan. 14.



"We will continue to advocate for adult use for all Floridians and pursue an agenda that includes home cultivation, employee protections, social consumption, expungement of criminal records pertaining to marijuana offenses and more," the board said.

Meanwhile, supporters of "Make It Legal Florida," a separate measure to legalize recreational pot in the Sunshine State, continue racing to beat the deadline to get on the 2020 ballot. According to the Florida Division of Elections website, the political committee behind that proposal had submitted 159,250 valid signatures to the state as of Monday morning. Initiatives require 766,200 signatures and need Florida Supreme Court approval of the proposed ballot wording to go before voters.

Two of the state’s largest medical marijuana operators have poured money into Make It Legal Florida since the effort was launched this year. Surterra Holdings, which operates under the name Parallel, and MM Enterprises USA, LLC, which operates as MedMen, have almost totally funded the political committee behind the effort. The committee had raised – and spent – more than $3.7 million as of Nov. 30, according to the state elections website.

The Make It Legal Florida proposal would allow adults 21 or older to "possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason."

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