In Florida, a new battle around the legalization of cannabis

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Florida activists have garnered enough signatures to qualify their proposal to legalize cannabis on the November 2024 ballot. The campaign, however, faces a legal challenge from the state’s attorney general, as in previous years.

Cannabis company Trulieve, which financially supports the Smart & Safe Florida campaign, has donated more than $38 million to date.

“Our investment demonstrates our firm belief that Floridians are ready to experience the freedom to use cannabis for personal consumption; a freedom that more than half of American adults currently enjoy,” said Kim Rivers, CEO of Trulieve, in a press release on Thursday.

“With over 965,000 validated signatures from nearly every region of our state, it is clear that these voters share this belief. We are thrilled the campaign has reached this milestone and look forward to seeing this initiative on the ballot next November. »

Legal ping pong

The Florida Division of Elections, which updates petition tallies at the end of each month, recently reported that it verified the 967,528 signatures collected at the end of May, exceeding the required threshold of 891. 523 signatures.

“There are a few steps to go through before she’s put on the ballot and gets a ballot number, but she’s received the required number of signatures to start that process,” said Mark Ard, spokesperson for the Florida State Department, MJBizDaily.

However, last month Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a lawsuit seeking to disqualify the measure. Smart & Safe Florida of the ballot. She argues that the initiative would violate the state constitution’s single-purpose rule for election metrics. Popular initiative proposals should be narrowly focused on a particular issue.

Despite the advice, campaigners say they have carefully reviewed the measure and are confident the court will find it meets constitutional requirements.

The attorney general made the same argument against a 2022 legalization measure, and the Supreme Court later struck it down. The Supreme Court will hear Moody’s appeal as early as next month. Both sides are due to present their initial arguments in court on June 12, with possible closing arguments to follow.

What does Smart & Safe Florida offer?

Here’s what the Smart & Safe Florida initiative for cannabis legalization would do:

  • Adults 21 and older could purchase and possess up to three ounces of cannabis (84 grams) for personal use. The cap for cannabis concentrates would be five grams
  • Medical cannabis dispensaries could “acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell and distribute cannabis products and accessories to adults for their personal use”
  • Lawmakers would be allowed — but not required — to approve additional entities that aren’t currently licensed cannabis dispensaries
  • The initiative clarifies that nothing in the proposal prevents the legislature from “enacting laws consistent with this amendment.”
  • The amendment further clarifies that nothing in the proposal “changes federal law,” which appears to be an effort to avoid past legal challenges over the ballot’s misleading wording.
  • There are no provisions for home cultivation, erasure of past records or social equity
  • The measure would take effect six months after it was approved by voters

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