Law enforcement backs legalizing marijuana in Florida

NORTH NAPLES, Fla.- The fight to legalize marijuana continues in Florida, but this time, some law enforcement officials are supporting the idea.

At the Collier County Library located off Airport Road, a small group gathered to discuss the benefits of recreational and medical marijuana.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) and the ACLU said 40 percent of all drug arrests are related to marijuana. They believe law enforcement could better spend their time on more serious crimes if the drug was legalized.

The groups attributed marijuana to decreased crime in states like Colorado and Washington D.C., and say if it is legalized in Florida, it would create jobs, relieve a tax burden, and give ill patients additional health care choices.

Ray Strack, a former federal investigator, says Colorado created up to 10,000 jobs due to the legalization of marijuana and believes they could triple that number in Florida. The recreational drug has also drummed up $700 million in revenue for Colorado according to LEAP.

Recreational use in Florida is nowhere in sight, but the group is pushing for a medical marijuana amendment to be put on the 2016 ballot.

Nearly 850,000 people have signed the petition, but the group says it only has 30 more days to get 200,000 additional signatures to quality for the ballot.

Medical marijuana appeared on the Florida ballot in 2014, but failed to pass after 48 percent of Floridians voted against it. If the amendment qualifies for the 2016 ballot it would need 60 percent of voters support to pass.