Friday, April 19, 2024

DeSantis Thwarted In Florida Marijuana Court Ruling


Score one for the voters

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been clear about his views on marijuana. He has called recreational cannabis a problem, lamented marijuana’s “stench” and grimly warned drugs are killing this country. After voters approved medical marijuana, he said it wasn’t enough and made them vote again where it passed by 71%. Despite his campaign receiving major funds from a few large players in the industry, his public state has been consistent.  As Florida put together a ballot initiative to legalize recreational, DeSantis signaled his displeasure. Ashley Moody, the attorney general of Florida and ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, asked the state Supreme Court to nix a proposed constitutional amendment which would legalize recreational cannabis.

RELATED: Looks Like Virginia Is The Newest Marijuana Nanny State

Today, in a 5-2 ruling, the Florida State Supreme Court advanced a proposed adult-use cannabis legalization initiative to the November 5, 2024, ballot. This delivers multi blows to the governor as it dismisses his and the state attorney general argument.  Marijuana, along with another ballot initiative are on the ballot and it is sure to drive voters who may not vote in line with DeSantis’s goals. And it shows despite his posturing, his administration, including the courts, are not in lockstep.

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

The ballot initiative, which is being spearheaded by Smart and Safe Florida, would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over and allow legal sales through licensed businesses. In order to pass, the initiative must be approved by 60% of voters. Of the 24 states with an initiative process, Florida is the only state that requires 60% to pass an initiative.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

If the ballot hits the 60% approval mark, the initiative would take effect six months after Election Day. The initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower and five grams of concentrate. Medical cannabis dispensaries would be permitted to sell cannabis to adults over the age of 21. The legislature would retain the ability to issue more licenses in the future.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed five of the seven justices. One justice said were “baffled” by the state’s argument about the language being misleading, and other justices were similarly skeptical of the state’s push against the amendment. This signals another blow  the court ruling against the governor’s stated position.

RELATED: The Imagine Of Today’s Marijuana User Is Not What You Think

As of this time, neither the Governor or the State Attorney General have provided feedback.


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