Florida To Vote On Marijuana Legalization On 2024 Ballot, DeSantis Suggests

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Florida To Vote On Marijuana Legalization On 2024 Ballot, DeSantis Suggests

Florida Governor Anticipates Supreme Court Approval for Adult-Use Marijuana Initiative, Setting Stage for 2024 Ballot.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stated that the Supreme Court will approve the initiative for adult-use marijuana initiative, which potentially can pave the way for the state to vote on legalization in the 2024 ballot.

If approved, the marijuana legalization initiative will be featured on November's ballot alongside the Presidential elections, with Florida potentially joining over 24 U.S. states that have legalized adult-use marijuana despite federal illegality.

Days before withdrawing from the 2024 Republican presidential nomination race and endorsing Donald Trump, DeSantis, inquired by cannabis lobbyist Don Murphy, discussed the possibility of marijuana legalization appearing on the Florida ballot, as first reported by Marijuana Moment.

"I think the court is going to approve that," DeSantis reportedly stated during his final campaign event in New Hampshire, "so it'll be on the ballot."

Despite his opposition to the reform and his previous commitment not to federally decriminalize marijuana during his presidential campaign, DeSantis said that voters will have the opportunity to decide on the issue. Furthermore, when recently questioned about a federal ban on firearm ownership for marijuana users, DeSantis argued that such a restriction infringes on the Second Amendment, attempting to position himself as a stauncher defender of gun rights.

In Florida, constitutional amendments started by citizens need signatures equivalent to 8% of the votes cast in the last presidential election. Additionally, there's a condition: these signatures must include 8% of district-wide votes from the last presidential election in at least half of the state's congressional districts (14 out of 28). The signatures need to be collected and verified by February 1 of the election year for the initiative to be eligible for the ballot, and they remain valid until February 1 of an even-numbered year.

After the signature collection, the secretary of state presents the proposal to the Florida Attorney General and the Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC). The attorney general subsequently requests an advisory opinion from the Florida Supreme Court. This opinion covers aspects like the measure's adherence to the single-subject rule, appropriateness of the title and summary, and potential invalidity under the U.S. Constitution.

The ballot initiative in Florida seeking to legalize adult-use marijuana has garnered sufficient verified signatures for it to be included on the November ballot, according to the state data.

Smart & Safe Florida filed the ballot measure, which received approval for signature gathering on August 23, 2022. State officials confirmed on June 1 that the campaign had submitted enough valid signatures to meet the distribution requirement in 14 of the state's 28 congressional districts. The Florida Division of Elections reported that the group had submitted 1,033,770 valid signatures.

Under the proposed amendment, individuals aged 21 and older will be allowed to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and accessories. It also grants Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers and other state-licensed entities the authority to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute adult-use marijuana products. The amendment applies to Florida law without altering or shielding violations of federal law. It establishes possession limits for personal use, enables consistent legislation, and provides definitions for terms.

As reported by MJBizDaily, the Florida-based multi-state operator Trulieve Cannabis holds a prominent position with 131 locations across the state.

In total, 11 states could potentially legalize marijuana in 2024 through the November ballot, with some currently running active campaigns and others already registered for the 2024 ballot.

Adult-use marijuana is currently illegal in Florida, and possession of up to 20 grams constitutes a misdemeanor, leading to potential penalties of up to a year in jail, a fine of up to $1000, and the suspension of the offender's driver's license, although some cities and counties have implemented reforms, reducing penalties.

Medical use was legalized in 2016 through a constitutional amendment known as Amendment 2. The initiative, securing 71% of the vote, was successfully approved during the ballot.

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Region: Florida

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