Florida Supreme Court Rejects Recreational Marijuana Constitutional Ballot Amendment Initiative

A majority of justices took issue with the word “permit”

On April 22, 2021, the Florida Supreme Court struck down a high-profile effort to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Florida. Justices reviewed a constitutional ballot initiative sponsored by the political committee Make It Legal Florida and, in a 5‒2 decision, ruled it to be “misleading.” In an opinion written by Chief Justice Charles Canady, a majority of justices took issue with Make It Legal Florida’s use of the word “permit” in the initiative’s ballot summary. The justices argued that the amendment did not effectively advise Floridians that, although marijuana use would be allowed under Florida law if the amendment were to pass, marijuana would still be illegal federally. 

The opinion specifically sets forth, “A constitutional amendment cannot unequivocally ‘permit’ or authorize conduct that is criminalized under federal law … A ballot summary suggesting otherwise is affirmatively misleading.” 

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