The Florida Supreme Court seems poised to allow an adult-use cannabis legalization proposal to be put to voters next year, seemingly rejecting the arguments by state Attorney General Ashley Moody that the initiative’s wording is misleading and that it violates the state’s single-subject rule on ballot questions, the Miami New Times reports.
During a hearing last week, Justice Charles T. Canady said he was “baffled” by the argument laid out by Chief Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Paul DeSousa of the Florida Attorney General’s Office, which claimed that the initiative will make voters believe that approving the measure will protect Floridians from federal cannabis law violations. Canady responded to this argument by pointing to the 74-word initiative, which explicitly says the provisions of the constitutional amendment “Applies to Florida law; does not change, or immunize violations of, federal law.”
Justice John D. Couriel said that the state Supreme Court’s decision in 2021 to block a similar initiative based on misleading language was due, in part, “because the ball was hidden” regarding federal law issues.
“Where’s the hidden ball?” Couriel asked state attorneys during the hearing. “It says on the face of this that it applies to Florida law.”
Chief Justice Carlos G. Muniz noted that while the measure would legalize cannabis and authorize current medical cannabis operators to sell products directly to adults, he didn’t see how those two provisions are “not directly connected” and, therefore, a single subject.
Canady added that Moody’s office was “turning the single-subject requirement not into anything other than a straitjacket on the people.”
The Supreme Court has until April 1, 2024, to rule on the case.
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Florida Supreme Court Poised to Allow Cannabis Legalization Ballot Question in 2024