Recreational pot drive tops $4.8 million in December

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In this Aug. 22, 2019 photo, lead grower Elizabeth Keyser, talks about flowering medical marijuana plants being grown with special grow lights during a media tour of the Curaleaf medical cannabis cultivation and processing facility in Ravena, N.Y. After legislative efforts stalled and a vaping sickness stirred new concerns, the governors of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut still want to make recreational pot legal. But the states have different approaches and timeframes, and some proposals have shifted since last year. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (The News Service of Florida) — Hurrying to submit enough petition signatures to get on the November ballot, a political committee raised more than $4.8 million in December for a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow recreational marijuana use.

The committee Make It Legal Florida raised $4,849,559 and spent $4,048,747 during the month, according to a newly filed finance report. Almost all of the contributions came from the medical-marijuana firms Surterra Holdings, Inc. and MM Enterprises USA, LLC. Surterra, which operates under the name Parallel, contributed $3.54 million, while MM Enterprises, which operates as MedMen, contributed $1.31 million, the report filed at the state Division of Elections shows.

The two companies have almost totally funded the political committee, which had raised more than $8.6 million as of Dec. 31. The committee is seeking to pass a constitutional amendment that 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.” 

It would need to submit 766,200 signatures by a Feb. 1 deadline to get on ballot. As of Monday morning, the Division of Elections had tallied 294,403 signatures for the initiative. Make It Legal Florida, however, has filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court seeking more time for the petition-signature process.

The lawsuit challenges a state law passed last year that placed additional restrictions on paid signature gatherers. To reach the November ballot, the proposed constitutional amendment would also need a sign-off from the Florida Supreme Court, which reviews amendment wording.

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