Florida Supreme Court considers putting recreational marijuana on 2024 ballot

Image via Shutterstock/Craig F Scott

By Crystal Harlan

November 9, 2023

If the Supreme Court rules to put the amendment on the ballot, voters will have a chance in 2024 to vote to legalize pot, which could make Florida the 25th state to allow recreational use.

The Florida Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday about an initiative to put recreational marijuana on the ballot in 2024, but state Attorney General Ashley Moody is opposing the measure.

About 71% of Florida voters approved medical marijuana use in 2016, but recreational use remains illegal in the state as well as at the federal level.

Across the country, support for marijuana legalization has reached a new record high. Seven in 10 Americans—including a majority of Republicans (55%), Democrats (87%) and independents (81%)—now support ending prohibition, according to a Gallup poll.

The group Smart & Safe Florida is sponsoring the amendment, which has more than 1 million signatures, enough to appear on the November 2024 ballot. The marijuana supplier Trulieve has contributed all but $124 of the $39 million raised to promote the measure.

The recreational marijuana proposal would legalize purchase of up to 3 ounces for personal use, and would allow medical cannabis dispensaries to cultivate, sell, and distribute it.

But Moody is pushing back, saying the language on the proposed ballot measure was not clear and would mislead voters because it does not clearly state recreational marijuana would still be illegal at the federal level even if made legal in the state.

Chief Justice Carlos G. Muñiz, one of the five Supreme Court justices appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, disagreed with Moody, saying that ballot language did not mislead voters.

John Bash, an attorney for Smart & Safe Florida, said the ballot summary is clear and was drafted with the Florida Supreme Court’s own road map from prior rulings about constitutional amendments dealing with marijuana.

Moody also argued that the measure would help marijuana purveyor Trulieve continue to dominate the cannabis market in Florida, estimated at $1.7 billion.

Because this is a constitutional amendment, the legalization would bypass Florida’s GOP-controlled Legislature. If the Supreme Court rules to put the amendment on the ballot, voters will have a chance in 2024 to vote to legalize pot, which could make Florida the 25th state to allow recreational use.

RELATED: 4 Steps to Get Medical Marijuana in Florida

 

 

Author

  • Crystal Harlan

    Crystal is a bilingual editor and writer with over 20 years of experience in digital and print media. She is currently based in Florida, but has lived in small towns in the Midwest, Caracas, New York City, and Madrid, where she earned her MA in Spanish literature.

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