Florida Supreme Court allows voters to weigh in on recreational marijuana legalization
Florida on cannabis background. Drug policy. Legalization of marijuana on USA flag,

Florida  on cannabis background. Drug policy. Legalization of ma
The 5-2 decision on Monday could open up a recreational marijuana market.

Eight years after Florida voters approved medical marijuana, they will have a chance to weigh in on recreational adult use.

The Florida Supreme Court gave its approval Monday to the Adult Personal Use of Marijuana citizen initiative, which could expand the current retail model beyond medical necessity, allowing visitors to the state and residents without qualifying conditions access to the product.

“Our role is narrow — we assess only whether the amendment conforms to the constitutionally mandated single-subject requirement, whether the ballot summary meets the statutory standard for clarity, and whether the amendment is facially invalid under the federal constitution. In light of those limited considerations, we approve the proposed amendment for placement on the ballot,” the Court ruled Monday with a 5-2 majority.

Advocates hailed the ballot inclusion.

“We are thankful that the Court has correctly ruled the ballot initiative and summary language meets the standards for single subject and clarity. We look forward to supporting this campaign as it heads to the ballot this Fall,” said Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers.

Rivers added, “Trulieve was the primary financial supporter of the initiative during the signature gathering effort and subsequent court challenge and is a proud supporter, alongside a strong coalition of other companies, of the next important phase to educate Floridians on the amendment and secure a yes vote on Amendment 3 this November.”

“We applaud the Florida Supreme Court’s decision confirming the Adult Personal Use of Marijuana initiative will be on the ballot this November, cementing Floridians’ democratic right to vote in favor of ending cannabis prohibition in the Sunshine State. As the nation’s largest medical cannabis market with a high population and significant political influence, Florida has the chance to make history by joining the growing majority of Americans who say ‘yes’ to legal regulated cannabis and the wealth of positive health, wellness and economic benefits this incredible plant provides millions of individuals and countless communities every day,” asserted George Archos, Verano Founder and Chief Executive Officer.

“We are pleased that the Court agreed that the ballot language was clear and correctly ruled in favor of allowing voters the chance to vote on this important initiative.  We look forward to bringing our message of allowing adults to safely use cannabis for their own personal consumption to the voters of this state,” said Smart & Safe Florida, the committee that has driven the amendment.

We are thrilled to see that the Florida Supreme Court rightfully granted the people the right to vote on allowing adults to purchase and consume cannabis products safely and legally.  As we tour across the United States, we recognize that most Americans already enjoy this right in their respective states, and we are glad to see Floridians will soon be able to make this decision for themselves at the ballot box in November,” said the Bellamy Brothers, who chair the campaign.

“There you have it Florida! Abortion rights and adult use marijuana are going to be on the ballot this November. There’s so much at stake, we can’t stay home on Nov. 5th,” asserted U.S. Rep. Maxwell Alejandro Frost.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Renner issued cautions, and as did Frost above, he linked the cannabis question with another amendment approved that could restore reproductive rights to Florida women that have been restricted greatly in recent years.

“The problem with some of these constitutional amendments is it’s all rainbows and unicorns because it’s drafted by proponents which again, in the case of both abortion and marijuana, it looks innocuous. But then you start asking yourself, well, can you, you know, smoke on a child’s playground? Can you smoke in an elevator? You know, things that we’ve restricted when cigarettes are concerned,” Renner said.

(Worth noting: The Legislature would be permitted to enact laws consistent with the amendment, including permitting recreational-use dispensaries to compete with the medical companies in the Florida market.)

Renner added that “the marijuana amendment is overly broad to serve the self interest of those that are going to grow it and make billions and billions of dollars off of it.”

“And with our medical marijuana protocols, you already can have marijuana available to you for many, many reasons with the doctor’s notes, including in smokable form. So I don’t think there’s a critical need for recreational.”

“We’ve seen what’s happened in other states that have tried this in Colorado that many, in many quarters, like, it was a bridge too far and they went too far, too fast. And so I think voters need to be cautious, very cautious about both of these amendments because they look good on the surface may look good on in the summary, but they go much farther than they may appear at first glance. And I think the same is true with respect to marijuana,” Renner concluded.

“While we respectfully disagree with the court’s decision, the Florida Chamber will continue fighting to protect our constitution from out of state and special interests trying to buy their way into Florida’s Constitution. Recreational drugs, like pigs, don’t belong in Florida’s constitution,” added Mark Wilson, President & CEO, Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Those objections notwithstanding, the constitutional amendment will be presented for voter consideration in November’s General Election, with legalization in effect as soon as May 2025 if 60% or more of voters approve.

It would allow adults 21 years or older to “possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.”

It also would permit “Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers, and other state licensed entities, to acquire, cultivate, process, manufacture, sell, and distribute such products and accessories.”

The amendment would allow for personal use of cannabis and derivatives, permitting consumers up to 3 ounces of marijuana and 5 grams of concentrate (such as oils, wax, shatter, and others).

The citizens’ initiative comes after the Governor weighed in on language weeks after correctly having predicted it making the ballot, seemingly mischaracterizing it in the process.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said he had a “big problem” with the prospect of legalization, before offering a misread of the language that elided the legislative role in setting up parameters for consumption.

“I looked at that language and, I mean, it is the broadest language I think I’ve ever seen. Basically nobody could ever be regulated or penalized in any way for possessing or using this,” DeSantis said. “It seems to supersede any other regulatory regime that we have and that means that if that were to come to pass that people in the downtown areas, in different communities, this is going to be part of your community.”

Smart and Safe Florida, the campaign driving the potential adult-use question, noted that in fact the amendment addresses the Governor’s concerns, and that the Legislature has the authority to legislate laws conforming with the amendment.

DeSantis has said he opposes legalization for a variety of reasons, including saying while on the campaign trail last year during his presidential campaign that today’s product is “too potent” and that dealers can “throw fentanyl in.” 

Early in his first term in office, DeSantis pleased reformers when he came out against the Rick Scott-era opposition to cannabis that could be smoked. Previously, loose flower was not available, with only vaporizer cups for sale at dispensaries.

“I look at someone who has Lou Gehrig’s disease or terminal cancer or multiple sclerosis. … I think the Florida voters who voted for that wanted them to have access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician. Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?” DeSantis said. “I want people to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

However, the Governor has taken a harder line against marijuana in recent years.

“If you look at some of the stuff that’s now coming down, there’s a lot of really bad things in it. It’s not necessarily what you would’ve had 30 years ago when someone’s in college and they’re doing something. You have some really, really bad stuff in there, so I think having the ability to identify that, I think, that’s safety, and quite frankly when you get into some of that stuff, it’s not medicinal at that point for sure,” DeSantis said, in response to a reporter’s question in 2021.

Attorney General Ashley Moody also fought the amendment to no avail.

She said it violated law requiring constitutional amendments to touch on just a single subject, and expressed doubt about whether the amendment complies with all technical requirements of state law. Her office also suggested it didn’t comply with the U.S. Constitution.

While dissenting justices Meredith Sasso and Renatha Francis agreed with the arguments made by the AG’s office, the majority didn’t find that to be compelling, and now voters will get a choice that Moody and DeSantis may not have wanted them to have.

A.G. Gancarski

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


  • tom palmer

    April 1, 2024 at 4:14 pm

    hey Ashley, try to represent us

  • tom palmer

    April 1, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    what was the vote?

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    April 1, 2024 at 5:44 pm


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  • MH/Duuuval

    April 1, 2024 at 6:16 pm

    The Nanny State lives in DeeFlorida, and citizens will see that after the proposal passes in Nov. and the Legislature (under the whip hand of Dee) begins to circumscribe its use.

  • Earl Pitts "The Big Voice On The Right" American

    April 1, 2024 at 7:18 pm

    Good evening Sage Patriots,
    “Relax Your Sphincters” as I, Earl Pitts American, have already resolved the perceived issue of a whole lot of Dook 4 Brains Leftys dragging their fat lazy butts up off the comfey couch and to the polls to vote for ruining their lives with weed and to kill more babies.
    1.) America whats going to happen is 1/2 of the Leftys will show up too zonked off the weed to remember to vote for anything but the weed and baby killing vote.
    2.) Out of the remaining Dook 4 Brains Leftys 1/2 of them wont want to go to HEII for voting Biden.They will all rationalize their votes for RFK.
    3.) That leaves just 1/4 of our origional group of Dook 4 Brains leftys to vote for 8iden.
    Basically the Above Sage Facts clearly prove that the Sage “Trump, DeSantis, Pitts landslide victory will not suffer at all by Florida’s Supream’s recent rulling.
    Most of the Dook 4 Brains voters will not return to work that day and will be at “Fornication Parties” where they have un-protected perverse sex, smoke weed, and drink to excess.
    While all Sage Patriots will faithfully return to work as good citizens should.
    All Sage Patriots are free to Relax Their Sphincters secure in the knowledge that nothing’s changed
    “THE GOOD GUYS REMAIN IN CHARGE” and nobody needs to be angry at the Florida Supreams as we will need their Sage Votes for some really important stuff coming up soon.
    Thank you America,
    Earl Pitts “The New Mayor of RealVille” American

  • PeterH

    April 2, 2024 at 10:06 am

    Recreational marijuana is so prevalent in Florida….. it might as well be legal.

    • MH/Duuuval

      April 2, 2024 at 2:41 pm

      The new law in Germany also allows citizens to grow a limited amount which, given their weather, will probably be bunker weed.

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