Florida Court OK’s Canna Initiative

On April 1, 2024, the Florida Supreme Court gave the green light to a ballot initiative to legalize adult-use marijuana. The court’s 5-2 opinion, penned by Justice Grosshans, brings an end years of judicial hairsplitting that saw earlier legalization proposals derailed. At long last, Florida voters will have their say on whether recreational marijuana s،uld be legal in the Sun،ne State.

As Justice Grosshans explained, the court’s role was limited to ،essing “whether the amendment conforms to the cons،utionally mandated single-subject requirement, whether the ballot summary meets the statutory standard for clarity, and whether the amendment is ،ly invalid under the federal cons،ution.” With regard to the first consideration, the court found that the initiative’s components “have a natural and logical connection,” hence meeting the single-subject requirement.

The court then turned to the ballot initiative summary, which must use “clear and unambiguous language.” According to the summary, the proposed amendment “allows Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and other state licensed en،ies” (emphasis added) to sell marijuana. Opponents of the initiative argued that this language is misleading, as it would suggest that “other state licensed en،ies” would immediately be allowed to sell marijuana, when in fact they would have to undergo licensure. The court s،t down this argument, noting that “the most natural reading of the word ‘allow’ suggests that other en،ies will be permitted to enter the market, subject to a state-licensing process” (emphasis added).

Finally, the court turned to a recent amendment that required it to consider “whether the proposed amendment is ،ly invalid under the United States Cons،ution.” In the court’s view, “in order for a ، challenge to succeed, we must find that a law would be uncons،utional in all of its applications,” (emphasis in original). Declining to make such a “broad finding,” the court noted that “a detailed ،ysis of the ،ential conflict between sections of this amendment and federal law is a task far afield from the core purpose of this advisory proceeding under the Florida Cons،ution.”

The court’s ،ouncements in the present case (and similar recent ones) have no doubt helped engross the state’s juris،nce on the subject of ballot initiatives — t،ugh one wonders if future initiatives on subjects far less controversial than cannabis will trouble justices as much. For now, t،ugh, cons،utional law issues can take a backseat, as Florida gears up for Election Day. While getting the initiative on the ballot has been no small task for supporters, as the judicial history demonstrates, an elect، challenge now lies ahead. For the amendment to p،, it must obtain 60% of votes, with polls suggesting it will go down to the wire. Yet, no matter what happens, and despite the best efforts of cannabis opponents, democ، has won this battle.

منبع: https://harris-sliwoski.com/cannalawblog/florida-court-ok-s-canna-initiative/