Supreme Court gears up for marijuana legalization arguments

Cbd Concept, Medical Marijuana, cannabis and blue background
The case for adult use cannabis will be heard Nov. 8.

The Florida Supreme Court will review oral arguments on an Adult Personal Use of Marijuana citizen initiative that could lead to a constitutional amendment for voter consideration, with legalization in effect as soon as May 2025 if 60% or more of voters approve.

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.

The hearing is set for Nov. 8, with each side getting 20 minutes to make the case as to whether or not the initiative should be put on next year’s General Election ballot.

“With upcoming oral arguments, we want to restate the fact that the language was drafted very conservatively and with the guidance of this very court.  We anticipate that the court will stick to its deferential standard of review and will agree that the language strictly adheres to the law and the Florida constitution and will give the voters the opportunity to vote on this subject,” said Steve Vancore, a spokesperson for Smart & Safe Florida, the political committee sponsoring the initiative.

Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers added, “We look forward to the Smart & Safe campaign presenting its case to the Florida Supreme Court.  We hope the court will ignore the political rhetoric, stick to the law and give Floridians the opportunity to vote on this important initiative.”

If the amendment should make the ballot, it will be with the opposition of Gov. Ron DeSantis and Attorney General Ashley Moody.

“We have medical in our Constitution, we have medical marijuana, we enforce that, you know, we abide by it, but to take action now to make it even more available, I would not do that,” DeSantis said in Iowa this summer, adding that legalization in Colorado has only expanded the “black market.”

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.

He had previously indicated olfactory objections to the pungent plant.

“What I don’t like about it is if you go to some of these places that have done it, the stench when you’re out there, I mean, it smells so putrid,” he told reporters in 2022. “I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places. I don’t want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely.”

Attorney General Moody holds to the same opinion she did in 2019, the last time a citizens’ initiative sought to put the adult use question to voters, saying the drafted amendment was overbroad.

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

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

Smart & Safe Florida already has more than a million verified signatures, meeting the threshold needed for ballot inclusion should the Supreme Court back its position. The committee has raised more than $39 million, almost entirely from Trulieve, the leading dispensary chain in the state in terms of number of storefronts.

Polling this Spring Mason-Dixon suggests the amendment would have 50% support on the ballot, which would ensure it falls short of ratification. However, other measures indicate support well above the 60% threshold for passage — notably, a March poll conducted by the University of North Florida found 70% of Floridians either “strongly” or “somewhat” legalizing recreational use for people over 21, with 29% either “strongly” or “somewhat” oppose.

Given that the vote would happen on a presidential General Election ballot, it’s all but assured that turnout will be juiced compared to that of most off-year election cycles, and anti-cannabis Republicans may suffer a backlash as a result.


Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • JD

    October 3, 2023 at 2:03 pm

    “legalization in Colorado has only expanded the “black market.””

    “I want people to be able to breathe [COVID-19] freely.”

    Let it go assh0les. People want weed. Why keep the black market going? The wealth on this has already been divided, you’re not going to grift anymore.

    Tell us MoRon, who’s not getting paid that you and Moody are holding out for?

  • Earl Pitts "Be More Earl-like In All You Do" American

    October 3, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    The Supreams have called me for some advice and I informed them that since the left has taken to the brink of WWlll with their epic fails we need to stop all weed use because we cant fight the Ruskies and Chinks and N. Koriea if we are all zonked out on weed.
    They all agreed and will be shuttering the weed industry for our own good.
    Thank you America

    • Rick Whitaker

      October 3, 2023 at 3:26 pm

      sounds like earl just smoked a fatty. can you pass a piss test, i think not. the maga cult is scared of putting freedom on the ballot because they know lots of dem leaning young people will come out to vote and take their maga candidates down. desantis is in need of smoking a fatty so he would be more likable.

    • Earl Pitts is a Pedophile

      October 3, 2023 at 4:26 pm

      Reminder that Earl Pitts is a convicted child molester.
      Nothing he says should be taken seriously, as he belongs in prison or preferably dead.

    • Brian Kelly

      October 3, 2023 at 6:27 pm

      Fear of Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is unfounded. Not based on any science or fact whatsoever. So please prohibitionists, we beg you to give your scare tactics, “Conspiracy Theories” and “Doomsday Scenarios” over the inevitable Legalization of Cannabis Nationwide a rest. Nobody is buying them anymore these days. Okay?

      Furthermore, if all prohibitionists get when they look into that nice, big and shiny crystal ball of theirs, while wondering about the future of cannabis legalization, is horror, doom, and despair, well then I suggest they return that thing as quickly as possible and reclaim the money they shelled out for it, since it’s obviously defective.

      The prohibition of cannabis has not decreased the supply nor the demand for cannabis at all. Not one single iota, and it never will. Just a huge and complete waste of our tax dollars to continue criminalizing citizens for choosing a natural, non-toxic, relatively benign plant proven to be much safer than alcohol.

      If prohibitionists are going to take it upon themselves to worry about “saving us all” from ourselves, then they need to start with the drug that causes more death and destruction than every other drug in the world COMBINED, which is alcohol!

      Why do prohibitionists feel the continued need to vilify and demonize cannabis when they could more wisely focus their efforts on a real, proven killer, alcohol, which again causes more destruction, violence, and death than all other drugs, COMBINED?

      Prohibitionists really should get their priorities straight and/or practice a little live and let live. They’ll live longer, happier, and healthier, with a lot less stress if they refrain from being bent on trying to control others through Draconian Cannabis Laws.

    • JD

      October 3, 2023 at 7:32 pm

      STFU Shitts

      • Earl Pitts "Be More Earl-like In All You Do" American

        October 3, 2023 at 8:54 pm

        Here boys is a little fact you nutless wonders dont want to get out:
        Too much weed smoking not only addles the brain and makes you a big wuss unable to defend yourself, your family, or serve in any branch of the military to defend your country. Also it makes your testicals disolve and be eaten by your body. In addition it makes weed addled men want to be taken analy by real men who are not impotent from weed poisioning.
        And another thing why is it always you fatty wussafied men demanding weed and we seldom see real women demanding weed?
        Y’all are weird beyond redemption.
        Other than that have a nice evening all you fatty Dook 4 Brains missing testicals weed tookers.

        • Rick Whitaker

          October 4, 2023 at 3:40 am

          earl you must be a real pothead. that fatty you smoked didn’t phase you. now you can’t calm down unti.l you smoke 2 or 3 more fatties. come on dude cut back a little and it will start taking less. the comment you made about women not wanting weed tells me that it was little boys you went after and lured them with pot. is that why you mention testicles and anuses a lot, a whole lot. your giving your game up, shame on you. LEAVE THOSE LITTLE BOYS ALONE. shame on you.i better not here about you messing with my great grandkids. why are you so enamored with ron desantis, is he your type even though he’s too old. go smoke another fatty. i don’t smoke pot, drink or eat meat. i live a clean life.. you are too old to change at 82 years old, so i don’t think you will quit smoking pot or messing with boys. you could check id’s and make sure they’re 18, what a disgusting man you are.

  • Mr. Speaker

    October 3, 2023 at 2:56 pm

    Earl its great to know you are open to advising the court in situations like this.
    Shutting down our weed industry will send a clear message to the Ruskies, the Chinks, and the Norks that we mean business and are ready to rumble in the most kick @55 WWIII ever.
    And sending the all tranny story time brigades to the front lines was pure smarts Earl.

    • Rick Whitaker

      October 4, 2023 at 3:42 am

      this post seems to be earl pretending to be someone else. pitiful, huh?

  • Brian Kelly

    October 3, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    Legalize federally now. What’s legal to possess and consume in nearly half of The United States should not make you a criminal in states still being governed by woefully ignorant prohibitionist politicians.

    Cannabis consumers in all states deserve and demand equal rights and protections under our laws that are currently afforded to the drinkers of far more dangerous and deadly, yet perfectly legal, widely accepted, endlessly advertised and even glorified as an All-American pastime, alcohol.

    Plain and simple!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now!

    The “War on Cannabis” has been a complete and utter failure. It is the largest component of the broader yet equally unsuccessful “War on Drugs” that has cost our country over a trillion dollars.

    Instead of The United States wasting Billions upon Billions more of our yearly tax dollars fighting a never ending “War on Cannabis”, lets generate Billions of dollars, and improve the deficit instead. Especially now, due to Covid-19. It’s a no brainer.

    The Prohibition of Cannabis has also ruined the lives of many of our loved ones. In numbers greater than any other nation, our loved ones are being sent to jail and are being given permanent criminal records. Especially, if they happen to be of the “wrong” skin color or they happen to be from the “wrong” neighborhood. Which ruin their chances of employment for the rest of their lives, and for what reason?

    Cannabis is much safer to consume than alcohol. Yet do we lock people up for choosing to drink?

    Let’s end this hypocrisy now!

    The government should never attempt to legislate morality by creating victim-less cannabis “crimes” because it simply does not work and costs the taxpayers a fortune.

    Cannabis Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide Federally Now! Support Each and Every Cannabis Legalization Initiative!

  • Rick Whitaker

    October 4, 2023 at 3:43 am

    brian kelly knows what he’s talking about on this issue. good job brian.

  • Tropical

    October 4, 2023 at 10:55 pm

    I don’t see anything about being able to grow your own in this legislation.
    It sounds like if this passes, only Trulieve will benefit, (and the black market, because Trulieve’s prices are too high).

    It doesn’t matter, though. Even if we pass this, evil desantis will squash it, just like they did with the 68% vote that restored voting rights to ex-felons.

  • Mike Sr.

    October 10, 2023 at 3:29 pm

    Governor DeSantis’ opposition to Recreational Cannabis will end any chance of Presidential opportunities, and AG Moody is no asset to Florida; both should retire from Government.

Comments are closed.


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