Florida Senate Moves to Block Initiative to Decriminalize Recreational Marijuana Before Florida Supreme Court
The Florida Senate is using a controversial new law to block a constitutional ballot initiative that would legalize and decriminalize recreational marijuana, raising a number of civil rights concerns in doing so. Specifically, the Senate is arguing that the state Supreme Court should block the recreational marijuana amendment because it would not only conflict with federal laws, which still classifies marijuana as a controlled Schedule I substance, but also attempting to use a new state law that makes it more difficult to pass ballot initiatives, calling on the Court to consider whether the proposal is technically invalid under the US Constitution. If the Senate is successful, it could set a very frightening precedent for a number of civil and constitutional rights here in Florida.
Thus far, the Florida Supreme Court has responded by inviting both parties to file briefs addressing the implications of the new law. The justices play a critical role in deciding whether or not any proposed constitutional amendments and ballot initiatives will go before voters, and are scheduled to hear arguments on this particular issue on May 6 via video teleconferencing due to the coronavirus. If those behind the ballot initiative win the case, it will appear on the 2022 Florida ballot.
The Ballot Summary
The ballot proposal would allow for the following:
- Anyone who is 21 years or older could display, possess, purchase, transport, and use up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use, for any reason
- Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers could dispense, distribute, and/or sell marijuana and marijuana accessories to adults as long as they are clearly labeled and in childproof packaging
- The continued maintenance of limitations on marijuana use in defined circumstances
And prohibit the following:
- Advertising or marketing to anyone under age 21
- Use of marijuana in public places
As a result, the Florida Constitution would be amended to allow for these provisions (i.e. to allow for adults age 21 and older to possess and use a limited amount of marijuana and to obtain that marijuana from medical marijuana treatment centers).
Still, opponents of the initiative claim that because it does not bring up federal law, it is misleading. However, it has never been a legal requirement for ballot initiatives that make adjustments to the state constitution to point out and/or make comparisons to federal law.
Contact Our Florida Civil Rights Defense Attorneys
If you have any questions or concerns about drug crimes and/or defense of civil rights in Florida, or are facing any criminal charges, contact the Orlando criminal defense attorneys at The Baez Law Firm today to find out how we can provide you with the very best in legal advice and representation.