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How a Proposed Ballot Initiative in Florida Could Change the 2020 Election

Activists in Florida are gathering signatures to have voters decide if recreational pot should be legalized in the state. And Floridians seem enthusiastic. In a new Quinnipiac University Poll, they support legalization of small amounts of pot by a 35 percent margin, 65 - 30 percent.

A recreational pot ballot initiative could have major consequences for the 2020 election too. Florida is the ultimate swing state in presidential elections and Donald Trump won it by just 1.2% of the vote. There is research that shows that pot legalization referendums energize young progressive voters and get them to the polls. Colorado's pot initiative influenced many young, liberal voters to cast ballots. "Voter turnout in Colorado changed dramatically between 2008 and 2012. In 2008, self-described liberals composed 17 percent of the electorate and that exploded to 28 percent in 2012. With marijuana legalization on the ballot in the Rocky Mountain State, more young people turned out, too. In 2008, 18-29 year olds made up 14 percent of the electorate, that increased to 20 percent in 2012. The changes were even more significant among 18-24 year olds. With legalization on the ballot, they made up 12 percent of the electorate compared to just 5 percent four years prior."

Colorado is probably an outlier because it was a "first" and had a massive amount of publicity, but with Florida so closely contested, even a small bump might well help a Democrat to defeat Donald Trump in 2020.

Republicans in Florida understand the potential consequences and are trying to shut down all ballot initiatives. The Republican-controlled legislature has passed a bill that would make it more difficult to collect signatures to get referendums on the ballot.

Tampa Bay Times: "Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday approved legislation that would crack down on citizen petitions, a move that is likely to quash future ballot initiatives disliked by Republican lawmakers and corporate donors.
"The bill, which takes effect before the 2020 election, makes it drastically harder to collect enough signatures to make it onto voters’ ballots."

Still, legalization activists are pushing forward with efforts to get it on the ballot in 2020. If you are interested helping with the petition effort in Florida you can get more information here at "Regulate Florida".

#news #pot #politics

By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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