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Florida AG aims to block third marijuana legalization initiative from appearing before voters

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Floridians may get the chance to decide whether to legalize recreational marijuana in 2024, but not if Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody gets her way.

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Moody is asking the Florida Supreme Court to reject the proposed constitutional amendment.

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In the 41-page brief submitted to the court this week, the Attorney General argued a citizen initiative aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana should be blocked from appearing on the 2024 ballot.

She alleges the ballot language misleads voters because it claims it would ‘allow’ the use of recreational marijuana, even though the substance remains illegal under federal law and the ballot language doesn’t thoroughly inform voters the amendment would cap possession at three ounces.

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“When voters decide whether to amend the Florida Constitution, it is essential that they know what they are voting for. It is the duty of our office to address the validity of an initiative petition before it appears on a ballot. It is incumbent upon us to inform the Court when a ballot summary misleads voters about the effects of the proposed constitutional change,” Moody’s office said in an emailed statement.

Moody also argued in the brief, the proposed amendment would not necessarily expand the existing marijuana marketplace as claimed in the ballot language and it could potentially leave the recreational cannabis industry unregulated for a while.

“I see the arguments as being merely performa,” Josephine Cannella-Krehl with the Florida Cannabis Action Network said.

Cannella-Krehl dismissed Moody’s arguments.

“I can’t think of the last citizen-based initiative that the Attorney General didn’t oppose,” Cannella-Krehl said.

Moody successfully challenged two recreational marijuana citizen initiatives that had aimed to make the 2022 ballot.

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She made similar arguments to those she’s put forth against the current initiative in both cases.

Cannella-Krehl notes the current initiative is the only one to have crossed the nearly 900,000 signature threshold needed to make the ballot.

She’s optimistic that if the Supreme Court doesn’t strike it down, voters will likely approve it next November.

“The majority of Floridians are tired of being treated and labeled as criminals over their use of a plant,” Cannella Krehl said.

If the Supreme Court gives the initiative a green light, 60 percent of voters will have to vote yes in 2024 to make recreational cannabis legal.

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If approved, the change would take effect six months after the election.

William Clayton

William Clayton, Action News Jax

Digital reporter and content creator for Action News Jax


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