Florida Adult-Use Cannabis Bill Has Been Shut Down

In recent events efforts to legalize adult-use cannabis in the state of Florida have been blocked. This choice to do so was made by The Florida Supreme Court. This caused a major upset too many advocates and activists worked to get much support. Cannabis activists put in the footwork to gain thousands of supporters and voters to sign the initiative. This was done to have the advantage to pass this new cannabis bill in Florida. Now with it being shut down by Florida’s Supreme Court, the process will have to start at the beginning once more.

If activists can once again get voters to sign off the initiative once more they may be able to make the 2022 ballot if executed in time. This past Thursday the decision was made by a 5-2 ruling. The court concluded that the Make It Legal Florida reform initiative is unconstitutional. They also contended that the ballot language is “affirmatively misleading”. This is because it says adult-use cannabis would be made legal in Florida. Especially without explicitly recognizing that it would still be prohibited under federal law. Now everything has to start from the beginning from creating the bill to getting all those voter’s signatures again.

This will need to be done if they want to see it make the 2022 ballot. The group put in a lot of effort to obtain 556,049 valid signatures for the cannabis bill that was now shut down. They needed 891,589 to put the bill before voters. Then a minimum of 60 percent of voters would have had to support it on the ballot for it to succeed. Florida’s Supreme Court went over the cannabis measure at the request of state Attorney General Ashley Moody’s office. Which later presented a summary that was against the legalization petition.

What’s The Next Move For Cannabis Legislation In Florida

Concerns by the majority of justices were mentioned in their decision. The issue is the use of the word “permits” in the ballot language. This causes worries when referring to activities such as having and buying cannabis by those who are 21 and older. Because Florida’s adult-use bill fails to recognize that such activity would not be allowed under federal law. This has led to deem the summary “misleading” and therefore unconstitutional.

“The summary’s unqualified use of the word “permits” strongly suggests that the conduct to be authorized by the amendment will be free of any criminal or civil penalty in Florida… The proposed amendment, on the other hand, explains that the conduct will only be free of criminal or civil liability “under Florida law.” The proposed amendment includes that language, of course, because a recreational marijuana user or distributor will remain exposed to potential prosecution under federal law—no small matter.”

But in a conflicting opinion, two authorities debated that the bill would only pertain to Florida law. Meaning this would not change federal law prohibiting marijuana. To a degree, the authorities stated there’s an example that is being used. This example makes it compelling for voters to do their homework on the matter. This will help gain an understanding of the basic implications of their votes. And in this situation, they stated, the majority is effectively saying voters cannot be trusted to understand basic governance.

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Will The Adult Use Of Marijuana Become Law In Florida

“Today’s decision underestimates Florida voters and adds hurdles to the citizen-initiative process that are not supported by the plain language of the governing law or our precedent,” the two justices wrote.

“Our review similarly presumes that voters possess a rudimentary knowledge of their government’s structure and of the laws governing their conduct. Citizens are also presumed to know what constitutes a federal crime,” the dissenting opinion states. “Finally, it is one of the most fundamental and elementary principles of our constitutional republic that no state law—not even a state constitution—can override federal law.”

“If, for example, you and I were instructed on a one-question final exam to summarize the predominant compounds present in the earth’s atmosphere and answered that the earth’s atmosphere is predominantly comprised of nitrogen (approximately 78%) and oxygen (approximately 21%), our summary should be viewed as correct because the rest of the gases combined account for only about 1% of the earth’s atmosphere,” they wrote.

“We would be quite upset, and rightfully so, if we were told by our professor that we had failed the exam because our answer was misleading in that it did not explain that the sun’s atmosphere is different,” they said. “Our justifiable confusion would be even more profound if the test instructions had plainly stated that our summary need not list predominant compounds in the sun’s atmosphere and need not explain differences between the earth’s atmosphere and the sun’s.”

Final Thoughts On Better Cannabis Reform In Florida

This arrangement in the Make It Legal Florida case could probably have been prevented if they’d taken careful steps. This is in regards to the ballot summary. Which is a campaign that put medical cannabis legalization on the ballot for 2016. The court reviewed that literature as well. Yet they did not reverse it due to the bill involving explicit language. This language pertained to how the cannabis bill does not defend cannabis users from federal consequences.

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