The Miami Herald reports…….For the third time in three months, the Florida Supreme Court dashed the hopes of Floridians who want to see expanded access to cannabis.
In a 5-2 ruling on Thursday, the state’s highest court found a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana to be misleading. The initiative, titled “Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions,” also would have allowed Floridians to grow cannabis at home. Had it reached the ballot, the initiative would have needed the approval of 60% of voters to become a part of the state Constitution.
Attorney General Ashley Moody asked the court to weigh in on the ballot language in September 2019. It took the court the better part of two years to issue its ruling.
Justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston, Carlos Muñiz, John Couriel and Jamie Grosshans concurred Thursday that Sensible Florida’s ballot initiative misled voters because the 75-word summary of the proposed amendment was unclear on the word “use.”
The ballot summary said the amendment would regulate marijuana “for limited use and growing by persons twenty-one years of age or older.” Justices found that this could mean the initiative’s backers were claiming to set guardrails on the amount of cannabis an individual could personally consume. But the justices wrote that the language of the constitutional amendment set no such limits.
“The Sponsor’s inability to point to anything in the text of the measure that could credibly support the ‘limited use’ language in the summary leaves no doubt that the summary is affirmatively misleading,” the justices wrote.
In a statement, Moody spokesperson Lauren Cassidy thanked the court for its decision.
“Floridians must fully understand what they are voting on when they go to the ballot box,” Cassidy said.
A HARMFUL LEGAL DELAY
Tampa attorney Michael Minardi, who backed the initiative, said in an interview he was disappointed in the court’s decision. However, he plans to press on. His group will redraft the proposal in the hope of getting a version of the amendment before voters in 2022.