Activists believe legislature's failure to include smoking medical marijuana could lead to recreational passage

Published: Jul. 10, 2017 at 5:12 PM EDT
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By: Jake Stofan | Capitol News Service

July 10, 2017

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CNS) -- John Morgan, the man who backed Amendment Two, says the Legislature’s failure to include smoking in its medical marijuana implementation will speed up the process of legalizing recreational marijuana.

While activists agree, two ballot initiatives collecting signatures aren't pulling the numbers needed.

Morgan is suing the state for banning smoking in the final medical marijuana law. He believes voters didn’t get what they asked for and will take their anger out by voting for all out legalization.

"They have opened the door fully to recreational use in Florida," Morgan said, "and I think it'll happen in the next three or four years."

There are two measures gaining signatures for the 2018 election that seek to legalize recreation marijuana.

According to the Florida Department of State, one has more than 2,000 signatures, while the other has over 11,000.

But, both are still a long shot away from the required 766,200 signatures.

There are patients that feel excluding smoking was the wrong move, like John Hightower.

“Opening up smoking and opening up access to more patients and then recreationally will help with some of the problems we have right now with the opiate epidemic,” Hightower explains.

Drug Free America says those truly upset about the exclusion of smoking are for the most part not patients, but people who were hoping for recreational use from the beginning.

"If they can vape, I don't see what the argument is about not being able to smoke," says Amy Ronshausen, the deputy director of DFA.

Hightower is skeptical anything will pass this year, but he says there are promising signs recreational marijuana is gaining momentum.

"You can even hear it in the hallways of the Senate office building in the Capitol. That, in a few years, it will be recreational no matter what anybody says."

Officials with Floridian’s for Freedom say they currently are processing several thousand additional signatures in support of their recreational marijuana ballot measure.

Similar ballot measures have come up in year’s past, but none have garnered enough support to make it to the ballot yet.