The Florida Senate is attempting to use a new state law to block a proposed recreational cannabis amendment from 2022 ballots, the Orlando Sentinel reports. The law calls on the state Supreme Court – which is responsible for approving ballot initiative language – to consider whether proposed amendments are “facially invalid under the United States Constitution.”
Senate attorneys argue that since the adult-use proposal championed by Make It Legal Florida runs afoul of federal law it should be considered invalid under the new state law, the report says. In Florida, the Supreme Court reviews ballot language and titles to determine whether they meet legal standards including whether the proposal is misleading. Florida Senate attorneys argue that the language does not adequately inform voters of the conflict of the proposal with federal law and is, therefore, misleading.
Make It Legal Attorneys argue that the failed 2014 medical cannabis proposal and the 2016 measure which was approved by voters set precedent because they both violate federal law but were approved for ballots by the Supreme Court.
“Under this (Supreme) Court’s precedent, ballot summaries are not required to recite the current state of federal law, or an amendment’s effect on federal law. Nor must a ballot summary remind voters that they are voting to amend Florida’s Constitution rather than federal statutes. … Florida voters do not require a lesson in these elementary civics principles, especially having voted on marijuana amendments in two out of the last three election cycles.” – Make It Legal Florida in a January 20, 2020 legal brief
On Monday, the Supreme Court issued an order inviting attorneys in the case to file briefs addressing the implications of the new law. The state House, Florida Chamber of Commerce, and Attorney General Ashley Moody have all filed briefs attacking the proposed amendment over its conflict with federal law.
The court is expected to hear arguments on the matter May 6.