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No Referendum on Florida Recreational Pot Legalization in 2020

The political action committee (PAC) behind the latest push to legalize recreational cannabis use in Florida has withdrawn its efforts, it was reported on Monday. This takes the measure off the ballot for this year.

Make It Legal Florida managed to get just over 295,000 signatures to support putting a state referendum on the ballot in the November federal and state elections. That is less than 40% of the required total of 766,200 needed, and the deadline for obtaining those signatures is Feb. 1.

Silhouette of a cannabis plant with the sun in the background.

Image source: Getty Images.

At the end of 2019, Make It Legal Florida sued in the state's Supreme Court for more time to collect signatures.

Since the ones obtained are valid for two years, they will be used in a new recreational use legalization effort in 2022.

"The narrow time frame to submit and verify those signatures has prompted our committee to shift focus," the Make It Legal Florida chairman said in an interview on the matter with the Tampa Bay Times. Presumably its new "focus" is that new chance two years hence.

The PAC was formed in August 2019, and was funded mainly by donations from marijuana industry companies. Dispensary chain operators MedMen Enterprises (NASDAQOTH: MTTPF) and privately held Surterra were major contributors. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Make It Legal Florida has raised $8.7 million so far, and spent $7.7 million.

The ballot initiative attempted by the PAC would have proposed allowing people 21 and over to buy, consume, and transport a maximum of 2.5 ounces of marijuana.

The decision to withdraw directly affects not only MedMen and Surterra, but other operators active in the state such as Trulieve Cannabis. In spite of that, both MedMen and Trulieve stocks were up in Monday trading -- the former by over 7% and Trulieve by almost 2%.

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Eric Volkman has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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