Florida Chamber urges Supreme Court to strike down recreational marijuana initiative

The Chamber said the ballot language misleads voters.

The Florida Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments on a recreational marijuana ballot proposal aiming for a spot on the 2022 ballot.

The initiative was originally planned for the 2020 ballot but the sponsoring committee, Make It Legal Florida, pushed the initiative back after it was clear they would not hit the signature threshold for the November election.

However, the petition drive did cross the 10% signature threshold to trigger a Supreme Court review.

Attorney General Ashley Moody and the Florida Senate argued against the plan, with an assist from The Florida Chamber of Commerce, which argued the ballot proposal would trick voters.

“The proposed amendment’s ballot summary is grossly misleading. It tells voters that the amendment will legally permit activities that will actually still be federal felonies resulting in over 2,000 prosecutions just last year. Because of these misrepresentations, the law does not permit it to be placed on the ballot,” attorney Jason Gonzalez said.

The Chamber presence was part of its Litigation and Regulatory Reform Center, which the Chamber established to push back against ballot proposals funded by “out-of-state and big dollar special interest groups.” One of Make It Legal Florida’s chief backers is California-based marijuana company MedMen.

The Litigation and Regulatory Reform Center was founded in response to the 2002 amendment banning gestation crates for pregnant pigs.

The Center’s arguments echoed a court brief it filed in January asking the Supreme Court to strike disqualify the proposed amendment from making the ballot.

“The Florida Chamber opposes the amendment based on both the public policy it is attempting to achieve, as well as the misleading nature of the way the amendment summary is written. We are concerned about the health, safety, welfare and brand of Florida and aspire for Florida to avoid the path, problems and bad brand that states like Colorado and Oregon are experiencing for legalizing marijuana,” the Chamber said in a news release.

There is no set timeline for justices to rule on the amendment.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


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