The new year is shaping up to be one of the marijuana movement’s strongest ever, reports the Los Angeles Times. The first legal pot storefronts in the U.S. opened to long lines in Colorado three weeks ago. Washngton state is poised to issue licenses for producing, processing and selling the Schedule 1 drug. Signature gatherers are at work in at least five states, including California, to put marijuana measures on the ballot tghis year.
Organizers say they have gathered more than 1 million signatures in favor of putting a medical marijuana measure before voters in Florida, a high-population bellwether that could become the first Southern state to embrace pot. “Florida looks like the country as a whole,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the state’s effort. “If Florida does this, it is a big deal for medical marijuana across the country.” Just three months ago, a clear majority of Americans for the first time said the drug should be legalized — 58% of those surveyed, which represents a 10-percentage-point jump in just one year, according to Gallup. “What has happened now is we have reached the national tipping point on marijuana reform,” said Stephen Gutwillig of the Drug Policy Alliance, an advocacy group. “Marijuana legalization has gone from an abstract concept to a mainstream issue to a political reality within a three-year period.”