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Michael A. Gottlieb, P.A.
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Florida might legalize recreational marijuana in 2018

You are probably well aware that Florida residents voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. Due to the recent changes in marijuana laws in various states, it can be confusing to understand exactly where your state stands. To be clear, recreational use is still illegal in Florida, but that could change in a few years.

The Florida Cannabis Act might be on the ballot in November of 2018. A Florida advocacy group is seeking to amend the state constitution to legalize and regulate recreational use of marijuana. Learn what the implications of legalization are, based on a Drug Policy Alliance report.

Reduced arrests

In states where marijuana is already legalized, arrests for possessing, cultivating or distributing marijuana have gone way down. This effectively saves thousands of people from facing criminal charges, while states save millions of dollars in incarceration costs.

Increased tax revenue

Tax revenues from marijuana have exceeded projections in Colorado and Washington. These increased revenues fund important projects such as school construction and marijuana regulation enforcement. While the revenues only make up a small portion of state expenditures, the increase is worth noting.

Insignificant impact on traffic deaths

The rate of traffic fatalities has remained consistent in states with legalized cannabis. In fact, Washington's and Colorado's car accident rates are lower than the national average. While more drivers are likely to test positive for marijuana, it is more difficult to measure marijuana impairment as accurately as alcohol impairment.

By looking at the data from states where marijuana is legal recreationally, you can get an idea of the impact it would have on Florida. If you are a proponent of legalized marijuana, you can celebrate the fact that medicinal use was approved in 2016, but there is still a ways to go. Be mindful of how you handle the drug while it is still illegal for recreational use. If you face marijuana charges, contact a defense attorney.

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