Florida Update: “Adult Use” Will Have to Wait

Cannabis Blog
April 28, 2021

In a 5-2 ruling the Florida Supreme Court, in an advisory opinion, struck the proposed amendment to the Florida Constitution that would allow Florida voters to decide whether to legalize the adult use of Marijuana in the upcoming 2022 election. The Court’s reason? Because the amendment’s summary was “affirmatively misleading”. The Court, in the majority opinion, reasoned the amendment’s summary would trick Florida voters into believing that the recreational use of marijuana in Florida would be free of any repercussions, criminal or otherwise because the summary made no reference to federal law. In so holding the majority looked to prior proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution concerning the use of marijuana and effectively put forth a “roadmap” for any future sponsors detailing how a potential cannabis amendment should be proposed and supported. The Court cited language from its prior opinions in Marijuana I and II (both concerning medical marijuana in the state) with approval, quoting portions of those proposed amendments, which stated “nothing in this section requires the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.” The Court cited Marijuana II with even greater approval, noting that proposed amendment was unanimously approved by the Court because it contained even greater detail stating it “did not immunize violations of federal law.” In dissent, Justice Lawson questioned the majority’s logic using an analogy about the composition of the atmosphere of the Earth and sun, hinting the majority was paternalistic in its underestimation of Florida voters. Voters will now likely have to wait until the 2024 election cycle to decide whether to legalize adult recreational use of marijuana in Florida due to the length of time it takes to gather the necessary signatures for an initiative petition amendment.

We still await the Florida Supreme Court’s decision in the Florigrown case concerning the State’s vertically integrated medical marijuana framework. This highly anticipated decision could have a huge impact on medical marijuana licenses and vendors in the state. Stay tuned to our blog for more updates.

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