Saturday, September 26, 2020

Restricting the Sale of Recreational Marijuana on Ballot


The debate regarding the legalization of “Recreational Marijuana” took a timeout during the last session of the Florida legislature. Proponents of that measure chose not to pursue a voters’ referendum during the 2020 election cycle. 

Efforts to move ahead on the issue got a boost when voters approved the use of “medical marijuana” as part of a statewide referendum initiative that passed during the 2016 elections. However, supporters instead chose to refocus their efforts on the 2022 election cycle. That in part was due to the fact that the efforts to acquire the necessary 766,200 signatures to place the initiative on the 2020 ballot seemed to have been falling short of that goal. 

The group Make it Legal Florida chose instead to focus on the 2022 election cycle to have the referendum placed on that ballot. Signatures collected will stay viable for 2 years, allowing them the additional time to acquire the total number of signatures and have them verified. 

On Marco Island, a group of concerned citizens formulated a political action committee (PAC) in 2019 to ban the possession, use, sales, distribution and growing of marijuana on Marco Island according to the paperwork filed with the City Clerk’s Office. 

The group has collected $1070 to fund their efforts and has expended $650.52 of those monies to support their endeavor according to their latest financial filings.  

The group collected the necessary signatures for a ballot question which is now before voters on the August 18, 2020, Primary Ballot. It seeks to enact an Ordinance which will be added to the City’s Land Development Code to prohibit the sale, manufacturing, cultivation, distribution or warehousing of Recreational Marijuana in all zoning districts within the Marco Island Community. 

The language in the ballot question specifically excludes Medical Marijuana and CBD products from the prohibition. Those products for medical use will not be affected. The City Council in 2019 allowed the sales of those products on the island. 

It is unclear how the restrictions on gatherings such as political forums due to the COVID-19 outbreak will affect the groups efforts to educate voters as to the specifics of the questions on the ballot. During normal times, an issue such as this would stimulate a considerable amount of discussion and debate. Little has been said so far considering this issue. 

The committee supporting this ballot initiative is asking that voters cast a YES vote on the initiative during the August 18 Primary Election.  

Early voting will begin on August 8th and run until August 15 from 10 AM to 6 PM daily. Election Day Voting will be on August 18 and the polls will be open from 7 AM to 7 PM. You are required to bring with you a photo ID and all voting sites are ADA compliant 

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