State Watch

Florida Supreme Court rules against effort to legalize recreational marijuana

The Florida Supreme Court struck down a ballot initiative on Thursday that would allow Floridians to vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana. 

The justices ruled in a 5-2 decision that the proposal was “misleading,” according to The Miami Herald.

The ruling came after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) asked the court to advise on whether the proposal was suitable for a future ballot initiative.

The proposed initiative, put forth by Make it Legal Florida, would make it legal for Floridians 21 and older to possess 2.5 ounces of marijuana. Sponsors of the initiative had collected more than 556,000 signatures of the 891,589 needed to make it a ballot initiative in 2022. The effort also raised $8.2 million, according to the Herald.

Chief Justice Charles Canady wrote in an opinion that the initiative’s use of the word “permit” was what the majority of the justices took issue with. They argued that the initiative did not explain to Florida residents that the initiative, if passed, would make marijuana legal in the state, but not federally.

“A constitutional amendment cannot unequivocally ‘permit’ or authorize conduct that is criminalized under federal law,” Canady wrote, according to the Herald. “A ballot summary suggesting otherwise is affirmatively misleading.”

This decision by the Florida Supreme Court comes as several states such as New York and Virginia have moved to legalize recreational marijuana.

In early March, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) vowed to move forward on legislation to federally legalize marijuana, regardless of whether President Biden supported the effort.

Tags Charles Schumer Florida Joe Biden marijuana legalization Recreational marijuana Ron DeSantis Supreme Court of Florida

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