Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody on Monday filed a challenge to the state Supreme Court against a ballot measure legalizing recreational marijuana, arguing that the initiative should not be presented to voters in next year’s general election. . If successful, an amendment by the Smart & Safe Florida group would legalize marijuana for all adults over the age of 21.
and legal opinion In a lawsuit filed in the Florida Supreme Court on Monday, Republican Moody, who has been the state’s attorney general since 2019, argued that the proposed marijuana legalization ballot measure was misleading voters. In a brief, she said, according to the ballot summary, the proposed initiative would allow “adults over the age of 21 to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical purposes.” says.
“It is inaccurate and misleading,” the state brief wrote because cannabis remains illegal under federal law. “The court previously erred in approving a similarly worded ballot summary.”
“[M]Arifana is independently prohibited by federal law,” the summary reads. as quoted by Orlando Sentinel. “In fact, any individual who possesses marijuana under the regime provided by the Amendment would be a federal criminal.”
In the voting brief, Moody said in a brief that while the initiative would not change federal law, the language was “insufficient to resolve the confusion.”
To qualify for the vote, the proposal must first be approved by the Supreme Court and receive approximately 900,000 verified signatures from registered voters. If the initiative survives Moody’s challenge, it will need to win at least 60% of the vote in the 2024 general election to become law.
Medical cannabis legalized in 2016
In 2016, the Florida Supreme Court approved a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana, winning 71% of the vote in that year’s election. But Moody said in a legal memorandum, “Voters should take clear and explicit action before they are asked to lift state law penalties for possession of substances that would impose devastating criminal liability on users under federal law.” We need guidance,” he said. And with misinformation rife in the press and touted by the sponsors of the effort about its effectiveness, clarity is even more important. ”
In a 2021 5-2 ruling, the Florida Supreme Court rejected a recreational cannabis initiative challenged by Moody. In a separate ruling that same year, the court also rejected a second ballot proposal for adult cannabis.
The campaign meets the challenge
After Moody & Co. filed a brief challenging the proposal, Smart & Safe Florida spokesman Steve Vancore said the campaign did not agree with Moody’s assessment of voting criteria.
“We believe the language as written clearly meets the constitutional requirements. We are confident that we will conclude that there is no legal basis to do so,” Bancor said in an official statement. “This important issue should be left to the people of Florida, and more than one million of them have already signed and supported the Smart & Safe Florida petition — to help themselves through democratic choice. We should decide for ourselves.”
Cannabis law attorney Daniel Russell accused Moody of politicizing the issue.
“This document is not so much a legal document filed by the Florida Chief Legal Officer on behalf of Florida’s 22 million residents as a Fox News horror story intended to generate goodwill from the ‘base’. It encourages the Russell said Email from the Florida State News Service. “It reeks of conservative nonsense and Nixonian views about substances legalized for recreational use in 23 states, three U.S. territories, and the District of Columbia. Florida Supreme Court understands this as it is and believes it will enable voters to determine the next steps for Florida’s future.”
Proposal to legalize adult cannabis in Florida
suggestion from smart and safe florida This will allow the state’s current medical cannabis dealers to start selling cannabis to all adults over the age of 21. Consumers will be allowed to purchase up to 3 ounces of marijuana at a time, including no more than 5 grams of cannabis concentrate. A proposed constitutional amendment ballot measure would allow state legislatures to authorize additional adult-use cannabis licenses, but would not require legislatures to do so. The effort also maintains Florida’s current vertically integrated business structure, which requires operators to control marijuana production and marketing from seed to sale.
of smart and safe florida The campaign, sponsored by Trulieve, the state’s largest medical cannabis supplier, has raised more than $38 million in donations, according to state elections office data. Trulibe announced earlier this month that the proposal had received enough signatures from Florida voters to qualify to vote in the 2024 general election.
“Our investment demonstrates our strong belief that Florida residents are ready to experience the freedom to use cannabis for personal consumption. It’s the freedom to be there,” says TrueLeave CEO Kim Rivers. said in a statement “With over 965,000 verified signatures from nearly every part of our state, it is clear that these voters share that belief. We are thrilled with what we have done and look forward to seeing this effort on the ballot next November.”