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Recreational Marijuana To Become Legal In Florida?

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Floridians will vote in November to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults 21 and up.

The Florida Supreme Court approved a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana.

“A ballot initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana under Florida law obtained the required number of signatures to trigger mandatory judicial review of the initiative’s validity. Our role is narrow—we assess only whether the amendment conforms to the constitutionally mandated single-subject requirement, whether the ballot summary meets the statutory standard for clarity, and whether the amendment is facially invalid under the federal constitution,” Florida Supreme Court Justice Jamie R. Grosshans wrote.

“In light of those limited considerations, we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot,” Grosshans added.

From the Associated Press:

The justices voted 5-2 to allow on the ballot a measure that would allow companies which already grow and sell medical marijuana to sell it to adults over 21 for any reason. The ballot measure also would make possession of marijuana for personal use legal.

Moody argued that the proposal is deceptive, in part, because federal law still doesn’t allow recreational or medical use of marijuana. She argued that the court previously erred when it approved the language for the medical marijuana ballot initiative voters passed in 2016.

In the majority opinion, Grosshans rejected Moody’s argument, saying the measure will not confuse voters as it “clearly states that the amendment legalizes adult personal possession and use of marijuana as a matter of Florida law.”

Grosshans rejected an argument by others that the measure violates the prohibition against multi-subject ballot measures because it both decriminalizes marijuana and allows for its sale. Grosshans wrote that those two are logically linked.

“Legalization of marijuana presumes the product will be available for the consumer. Likewise, the sale of personal-use marijuana cannot be reasonably undertaken while possession is criminalized. Selling and possessing marijuana appear, for better or worse, directly connected,” Grosshans wrote.

“The Florida Supreme Court has ruled to allow Smart & Safe’s ballot amendment for recreational marijuana in Florida. This November, Floridians will be not only be voting for President, they will also decide if they want people to be able to buy cannabis without a medical card,” Martha Bueno commented.

Forbes noted:

“This is one of the most important cannabis legalization campaigns in recent years,” Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement from the cannabis policy reform advocacy group. “We have the opportunity to end the injustice of cannabis prohibition for over 22 million Americans.”

To become law, the ballot measure must receive at least 60% of the vote in the November election. Of the 24 states in the union with an initiative process, Florida is the only one to set a 60% threshold for passage.

“The challenge in Florida is reaching the 60% mark,” added Schweich, who has served as campaign director for six successful cannabis reform ballot initiative campaigns since 2016. “We need a well-funded campaign but just as importantly we need a strong grassroots operation that can mobilize support and turn out pro-legalization voters.”

In June 2023, state elections officials revealed that the adult-use cannabis legalization proposal from Smart & Safe Florida had received enough signatures to qualify for the 2024 general election ballot. Before it could appear on the ballot, the initiative faced a review by the Florida Supreme Court, which is tasked with verifying that the measure is limited to a single issue and is not likely to confuse voters. In 2021, the Florida Supreme Court invalidated marijuana legalization bids on two separate occasions.

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