Florida Supreme Court Allows Marijuana Legalization Initiative to Appear on November Ballot

An initiative to legalize recreational marijuana will appear on this November’s ballot in Florida.

“There are no Florida Supreme Court opinions ready for release today, March 28, 2024”, said the Florida Supreme Court on their official X page. This means that the court is unlikely to issue a ruling on Amendment 3 to legalize marijuana prior to the April 1 deadline, given opinions are almost always issued on Thursdays and next Thursday is past the deadline. No ruling being issued prior to the April 1 deadline means the initiative will appear on the November ballot by default.

By refusing to consider a challenge from Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody who is seeking to remove the initiative from the ballot, the Supreme Court would be effectively rejecting the motion, allowing the measure to be voted on this November.  It is possible the court could issue a surprise ruling on Monday; If the court does issue a Monday ruling, it’s expected the ruling will be in support of the initiative being placed on the November ballot. Governor Ron DeSantis, a longtime opponent of legalizing marijuana, said in January that he believes the court will rule in favor of the proposal, saying “I think the court is going to approve that. So it’ll be on the ballot”.

Late last year the nonprofit political group Smart & Safe Florida campaign submitted 967,528 valid signatures for the initiative, more than the 891,523 signatures required to put the measure a on the November, 2024 presidential election ballot.

If the initiative receives at least 60% support this November – it requires 60% rather than 50% given it’s a constitutional amendment – those 21 and older would be allowed “to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.” Licensed marijuana retail outlets would be allowed to distribute the plant, with any of the state’s licensed medical-marijuana dispensaries allowed to “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute such products and accessories.”

Governor Ron DeSantis, who opposes legalizing marijuana, said in January that he does not belove the court will rule against the initiative, saying “I think the court is going to approve that. So it’ll be on the ballot”.

Polling released in November found support among likely voters to be at 67%.

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