DADE CITY, Fla. — Forty miles north of Tampa near a boulevard named in their honor, you can find the 150-acre working ranch that world-renowned country music duo the Bellamy Brothers call home.
“It always stayed in the family, and it's been like a magnet through the years,” Howard Bellamy, the eldest brother, said of the ranch.
It's the same plot of land Howard and David Bellamy were born on, where they raised their families and of course, recorded a catalog of hit records.
Various awards, billboard chart plaques and gold-plated albums adorn the walls of an office inside the home they grew up in.
“[Our mom] used to love when we won awards, so we used to give them all to her to keep here,” David explained.
“We’re 46 years in and we still speak to each other, I think our mom would be more proud of that,” joked Howard.
In their half-century-long career, they've crossed the world and paths with some of the biggest names in the industry — working alongside Dolly Parton, Bob Dylan and the late, great Ray Charles to name a few.
Today they are still touring, doing more than 140 shows this year alone, as well as releasing new music and, at the same time, pushing for change.
The Bellamy Brothers are the face of a new campaign aiming to put a proposed constitutional amendment on the state ballot in 2024, which if passed would allow anyone 21 and up to buy, possess and use marijuana.
“We had a hit song called 'Old Hippie.' We've never tried to keep it a secret, or anything, it's always been part of our culture, you know we were the original hippie cowboys," David explained.
David and Howard are medical marijuana cardholders, and even have their own brand of flower “Old Hippie Stash” with Truelieve (the company that’s helping fund the ballot drive), and believe cannabis can make a positive difference in people's lives.
They say legalization will also cut down on unnecessary arrests.
“Having it go medical was a really great step. I mean it was, but this is the next step. This is kind of step two, so it's more available to people and more affordable to people in the long run,” says Howard.
"We've got friends, we've got really close friends, who were really strung out on opioids, and have just made miraculous recoveries using cannabis," David added.
The brothers have seen firsthand how public perception of marijuana has changed over the years and they believe now is the time there will be enough support for a change to allow adult use.
Among their awards, chart-topping hits and multinational fame, the Bellamy Brothers say the legalization of marijuana in their home state of Florida would stack up among those other career accomplishments.
"Oh that would be big a big one," David says.
"Eventually it will [be legalized] — it's just a matter of when," Howard added.
The "Smart and Safe Florida" campaign will begin collecting signatures next week, they will need nearly 900,000 signatures to get on the ballot in 2024. A similar ballot initiative effort failed to get on the ballot this year.