Ashley Moody urges Florida Supreme Court to snuff out marijuana ballot initiative

Moody ad
Safe & Smart Florida has collected more than a quarter of the required signatures to put adult use on the ballot.

Attorney General Ashley Moody says a recreational marijuana amendment should not appear on the ballot next year.

The state’s top legal officer submitted her assessment in writing to the Florida Supreme Court. She holds to the same opinion she did in 2019, the last time a citizens’ initiative sought to put the adult use question to voters. In short, she argued the court should shoot the matter down.

“I believe that the proposed amendment fails to meet the requirements of Section 101.161(1), Fla. Stat., and will present additional argument through briefing at the appropriate time,” she wrote.

Moody cited a law requiring constitutional amendments to touch on just a single subject, and whether it complies with all technical requirements of state law.

The Attorney General is required to render an opinion once a petition effort submits a quarter of the required valid signatures to put an amendment on the ballot, and to transmit the measure to the Florida Supreme Court for review.

Safe & Smart Florida, the force behind the marijuana amendment, had 786,747 signatures already certified as of May 15. The effort must gather 891,523 valid signatures to make the 2024 ballot.

“We appreciate General Moody’s transmittal to the Supreme Court but respectfully disagree with her statement that she believes it does not comply,” reads a statement from the Safe & Smart campaign.

“We very much look forward to her analysis but more importantly to both written and oral arguments before the Florida Supreme Court and a positive ruling from that court. As an aside, it is important to note that the opinion of the Attorney General is not binding and that this matter will be decided after both sides have had their say before the Florida Supreme Court.”

The amendment, titled “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” would allow non-medical use of the narcotic and prohibit any law subjecting use to criminal liability or civil sanctions. It would also clear all licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers in the state to start making and selling recreational cannabis products.

Florida voters in 2016 passed a constitutional amendment legalizing marijuana only for medical uses. That laid the groundwork for a still-growing industry in the state, along with a host of regulations around the product. But it’s still not legal for residents and visitors of Florida to use marijuana without a prescription.

Trulieve, the largest marijuana producer in Florida, has put millions behind the effort to put adult use on the ballot.

“We believe the ballot language meets Florida’s single subject and related laws and look forward to the Smart & Safe campaign bringing this matter before the court where we expect a positive ruling,” said Trulieve spokesman Steve Vancore.

“As a majority of American adults now enjoy the freedom to use cannabis for personal consumption, we hope the court will agree that the Smart & Safe amendment meets Florida’s ballot sufficiency laws and will allow the voters to have a vote on this important matter.”

Any constitutional amendment ultimately must pass muster with the Florida Supreme Court. If it makes the ballot, the measure must still win approval with 60% of voters in the General Election in order to become part of the Florida Constitution.

The high court in June 2021 rejected a similar constitutional amendment from Sensible Florida that would have allowed individuals to grow marijuana in their homes and require the product be regulated like alcohol.

Months prior, justices had also rejected a proposed amendment from Make It Legal Florida that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Florida. The concern at that point, and one voiced by Moody’s office, was that the amendment could only decriminalize marijuana under state law, while the federal government still outlaws its use.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Elliott Offen

    May 15, 2023 at 5:32 pm

    This from Ashley “Fentanyl Halloween candy” Moody (there was not one instance of any child getting Fentanyl instead of Halloween candy.) The Fentanyl is colored on purpose so that it DOES NOT get mistaken for other drugs and accidentally consumed causing harm. It’s meant to be a protective measure. What do they do? They lie and scare people and come up with harsh punishments for Fentanyl that “looks like candy.” Life in prison for a colored pill? Same punishment for murder as possession of drugs? What’s next? Same punishment as DUI manslaughter for DUI?

    • craig

      May 16, 2023 at 9:13 am

      i’m only in my thirties, but have our legislators and lawmakers always been this …dumb? this is so silly and absurd. florida could be such a cool place to live.

  • Guido Arebo

    May 16, 2023 at 7:43 am

    Legal marijuana is going to cut into the profits from rich tourists paying for probation they believe. They are too stupid to realize how much money it will generate in taxes. Too much stupid in Florida keeps electing these arrogant idiots.

  • Dont Say FLA

    May 16, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Why doesn’t Ashey just go and vote “No” for the thing she doesn’t like? Oh right, she is a Republican. When a GOP type doesn’t fancy something, they work to prevent voters voting on it. Americuh!

  • Mercury Shampoo Ed 👍

    May 16, 2023 at 9:28 am

    Honestly, pot is not really that good for people, but people will get it anyway. That’s the point here. It’s a plant. Secondly, booze is not good for people either. Just recently, it was reported that any alcohol consumption is not healthy…yet how many people conservative or otherwise continue to do it? This stuff with soft drugs is just used to bolster people’s perception that someone is in charge and “doing something about something.” When a political faction only exists to throw people in jail and shovel money to the rich… this is the result. They want to retain the power to jail more people over more things. All this in place of governing to produce the greatest good for the most amount of people.

  • Mary Carol Frieg

    May 16, 2023 at 9:37 am

    As easy as it is to get a medical marijuana card, it doesn’t make since to not approve recreational use.

  • The "Freedom" State

    May 16, 2023 at 12:08 pm

    DeSantis keeps on babbling about “Florida’s Freedom” but I honestly have no idea WTF he’s talking about.

    All this clown does is pass more laws and ban more stuff, then wonders why his poll numbers are in the toilet.

  • Lisa

    May 16, 2023 at 1:12 pm

    Ashley Moody needs to mind her own business and realize that it will help our state more if they legalize it for recreational because it helps bring more money to our state and it’s been proven that it helps medically. If you don’t like it then move from our state and live somewhere else.

  • Tom Palmer

    May 16, 2023 at 4:51 pm

    The federal law, which dates to an earlier anti-immigrant campaign aimed at Mexicans, needs to be repealed to make state referenda unnecessary.

  • Ian

    May 17, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    From the article:
    “Moody cited a law requiring constitutional amendments to touch on just a single subject, and whether it complies with all technical requirements of state law.”

    Not true. Moody said nothing about the single subject requirement, which is found in the Florida Constitution. She specified section 101.161(1), Fla. Stat. That statute requires ballot summaries to be clear and unambiguous. Either issue can keep an amendment off the ballot, but she focused on the latter and said nothing about the former.

  • Earl Pitts American

    May 17, 2023 at 8:23 pm

    Good evening America,
    I will have the “Come To Earl Meeting” with Ash.
    My focus is since 96.75% of all Floridians who will use non-medicinal “recerational” weed have been proven to be dook 4 brains leftists why not let them get “Zonked Out Of Their Fool Heads” on that $hIt???
    That way when Ron gets inaugurated the dook 4 brains leftists will all be too zonked out of their gourds on weed to riot and burn buildings and break into our whiskey stores and get all liquered up and steal flat screen TV’s and coupelate like dogs in the field.
    Hhhhmmmmmm why not?
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts Anerican

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 18, 2023 at 1:28 pm

      While I can’t say much for his reasoning, i can say I agree with EPA on this topic. Weed is only illegal so the police can say they smell weed and search the cars of whomever they like. Weed should be legal. Smelling weed emanating from a car should yield only a routine roadside DUI inquiry. Nobody’s car should be searched by rote as the polices have been doing for decades since Weed was handed to them on a silvery white platter.

    • Tropical

      May 18, 2023 at 11:12 pm

      Do you really think you’re clever?
      We don’t.

  • T

    May 18, 2023 at 3:53 pm

    Thanks Ashley. I was afraid that legal recreation pot was going cut into my pot and fentanyl business.

    • Dont Say FLA

      May 18, 2023 at 6:30 pm

      Fentanyl is for Halloween candy, silly rabbit.

  • Tropical

    May 18, 2023 at 11:10 pm

    It’s not like it would matter even if it passed by a clear majority.
    The GOP klan would squash it no matter what.
    It’s just what they do.

  • lucky lieberman

    May 21, 2023 at 3:43 pm

    All those convicted of any marijuana violation without violence or weapons involved should be the first ones to be granted a license to grow and sell marijuana for recreational use.

Comments are closed.


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