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Recreational Marijuana in Florida: What are the prospects?

When it came to the question of legalizing medical marijuana in Florida last November, 71 percent of Florida residents agreed that legalization was a great idea. Now, supporters of recreational marijuana legalization are hoping that recreational cannabis use will be legal by 2018.

Recreational marijuana is still highly illegal in Florida, and marijuana crimes related to recreational cultivation, possession and sale can result in serious criminal penalties.

Advocacy group gears up for a second attempt to amend the constitution

According to the leader of the marijuana legalization group Regulate Florida, "The attitudes and the perceptions and acceptance of this issue have changed dramatically, even since the election of 2016."

That said, the group has to gather 750,000 signatures before early 2018. It only has 20,000 at this time. The group has only collected $245,000 in donations. Compared to the $6.2 million that advocacy groups collected for the medical marijuana legalization campaign, recreational marijuana has a long way to go.

There is also the challenge of Florida's state legislature, which may be very hesitant to pass a recreational marijuana bill at this time. Some commentators believe that Florida still has a long way to go in gathering support to change the law, while others argue that the time is right for Florida to gather the over 60 percent public support that is required to change the constitution. According to a Quinnipiac University poll in May 2016, Florida already had 56 percent support for recreational marijuana over a year ago.

You can still get arrested and sent to jail for marijuana in Florida

With perceptions relating to marijuana use changing throughout the nation, it may be easy for Florida residents to feel more comfortable with marijuana use and possession. However, if anyone is caught with marijuana -- especially a large amount -- it could mean jail time, steep fines and a criminal record. If you're facing marijuana charges, you will want to organize a sound and appropriate criminal defense.

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