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Jacksonville area law enforcement yet to stake out positions on recreational cannabis amendment

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Florida voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on whether to legalize recreational marijuana when they head to the ballot box in November.

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Amendment 3, if approved, would allow Floridians over age 21 to possess up to three ounces of marijuana for recreational use.

But there’s an expectation law enforcement will likely oppose the effort.

The state’s top cop, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, asked the state supreme court to block the amendment from the ballot.

She was unsuccessful but maintains her belief that the amendment misleads voters.

“The Attorney General has said she respects the Court’s decision but maintains that voters will have to be educated about what this amendment will actually do,” a spokesperson for the Florida Attorney General told Action News Jax in an emailed statement.

READ: Cannabis industry supportive of legalization effort, but worry about access to market

Florida House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Bay) has also come out in opposition.

He argued the amendment is overly broad and unnecessary, due to the state’s accessible medical marijuana program.

“It looks innocuous, but then you start asking yourself, well, can you smoke on a child’s playground, can you smoke in an elevator?” said Renner.

But Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers argued the amendment explicitly allows state lawmakers to regulate recreational marijuana and even gives them six months to do so before it would take effect.

“We would welcome a provision that would absolutely restrict time, place, and manner in terms of where consumption can happen just like the legislature does for many other things such as alcohol and tobacco,” said Rivers.

Opposition could come from other law enforcement officials as well, but so far, the Florida Sheriffs Association and our four local sheriffs here in Northeast Florida haven’t taken a hard stance one way or the other.

UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder explained with recreational marijuana polling well above the 60% support needed, it’s got a good shot at passing, so long as a large-scale opposition campaign doesn’t manifest and sway public opinion.

“And I also think even with a mild opposition campaign, I think it stands a good chance,” said Binder.

And Rivers said cannabis supporters are ready to fight to get Amendment 3 across the finish line.

“This is not a Red or a Blue issue. It’s really a human rights issue as far as we’re concerned,” said Rivers.

A statewide poll conducted by UNF in November of last year found the recreational marijuana amendment with 67% support.

Just 28% of Floridians said they opposed the measure.

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