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Ashley Moody

DeSantis Thwarted In Florida Marijuana Court Ruling

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Score one for the voters

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has been clear about his views on marijuana. He has called recreational cannabis a problem, lamented marijuana’s “stench” and grimly warned drugs are killing this country. After voters approved medical marijuana, he said it wasn’t enough and made them vote again where it passed by 71%. Despite his campaign receiving major funds from a few large players in the industry, his public state has been consistent.  As Florida put together a ballot initiative to legalize recreational, DeSantis signaled his displeasure. Ashley Moody, the attorney general of Florida and ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, asked the state Supreme Court to nix a proposed constitutional amendment which would legalize recreational cannabis.

RELATED: Looks Like Virginia Is The Newest Marijuana Nanny State

Today, in a 5-2 ruling, the Florida State Supreme Court advanced a proposed adult-use cannabis legalization initiative to the November 5, 2024, ballot. This delivers multi blows to the governor as it dismisses his and the state attorney general argument.  Marijuana, along with another ballot initiative are on the ballot and it is sure to drive voters who may not vote in line with DeSantis’s goals. And it shows despite his posturing, his administration, including the courts, are not in lockstep.

“This is one of the most important cannabis legalization campaigns in recent years,” said Matthew Schweich, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project. “We have the opportunity to end the injustice of cannabis prohibition for over 22 million Americans.”

The ballot initiative, which is being spearheaded by Smart and Safe Florida, would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and over and allow legal sales through licensed businesses. In order to pass, the initiative must be approved by 60% of voters. Of the 24 states with an initiative process, Florida is the only state that requires 60% to pass an initiative.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

If the ballot hits the 60% approval mark, the initiative would take effect six months after Election Day. The initiative would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower and five grams of concentrate. Medical cannabis dispensaries would be permitted to sell cannabis to adults over the age of 21. The legislature would retain the ability to issue more licenses in the future.

Gov. Ron DeSantis appointed five of the seven justices. One justice said were “baffled” by the state’s argument about the language being misleading, and other justices were similarly skeptical of the state’s push against the amendment. This signals another blow  the court ruling against the governor’s stated position.

RELATED: The Imagine Of Today’s Marijuana User Is Not What You Think

As of this time, neither the Governor or the State Attorney General have provided feedback.



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Ashley Moody

Florida Has A Math Problem When It Comes To Cannabis

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The Florida Smart & Safe campaign for recreational cannabis use has secured and verified over 1 million signatures.  Roughly .5% of the population stepped up for recreational marijuana.  Despite the support, the group has to get approval from the Florida supreme court before it can go to a general vote.

Florida’s elected leaders seem to have an issue that runs opposite of the public. In a survey from Pew Research, only 10% of the population wants marijuana to be illegal.  A full 89% believe medical marijuana should be available to everyone and 59% believe it should be with alcohol in recreational use.

Ron DeSantis
Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty Images

RELATED: California or New York – Which Has The Biggest Marijuana Mess?

“I think it’s going to be a tough fight, and I think it could go either way,” constitutional attorney Will Cooper shared with WFLA. “The key is the Supreme Court in Florida. They have a history of being very aggressive and striking down these initiatives relating to marijuana use in Florida.”

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody already announced intentions to fight the proposed constitutional amendment. Moody’s communications director said it’s essential Floridians know what they’re voting for.  Again, they aren’t sure Florida citizens are smart enough to understand.

Florida twice approved medical marijuana.  The first time it had over 55% of the state vote in favor but the Governor and Florida court said they were ill informed and refused to allow it to pass into law.  Then in November of 2016 Floridians again voted on a constitutional amendment to introduce medical cannabis to the state. The amendment passed with 71.3% of voters in favor of the initiative. Governor Ron DeSantis refused has extremely slow walked the process.  Currently, for a population of 21 million, the state has 501 dispensary locations currently in operation.  Florida also has 1790 dedicated liquor shops not counting convenience stores (9,500+), bars, restaurants, and grocery stores (4,000+).

pharmaceuticals marijuana
Photo by Cappi Thompson/Getty Images

This fight is commons as the they are dealing with two other major issues that can derail the Sunshine State. Public and private university faculty are reporting that they are losing staff at a high rate and struggling to fill vacant positions that were once covetous. A brain drain is happening in the college system and people are declining to move to the state for high-paying technical jobs. The state will have to lean on service workers to generate more taxes.

The second is the soaring cost of home insurance with four national insurance firms refusing to cover Florida. The issue is so dire, there is concern of a housing market crash.

RELATED: Unlicensed Shops in NYC Are Doing Better Than The Naked Cowboy

Twenty perfect of the state’s population if over 65. According to  data in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients suffering from pain, cancer, anxiety, and insomnia report significant, sustained improvements in their health-related quality of life following the use of medical marijuana.

That is a  amount of the population who can have a direct benefit from better and legal access. So when it comes to legal cannabis, the will of the public and the actions of the state just don’t add up.



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