The proposal, passed by the Senate in a 26-14 vote, would give the next governor the ability to pack the courts and is intended to give incumbent Gov. Rick Scott, who is seeking re-election, the ability to reshape the Florida Supreme Court.
Amendments and Referendums
The elevation of medical marijuana to a theological level is not unique to Florida. Many legislators from Georgia to Kentucky to Iowa have invoked conversations with God as they came to embrace medical pot.
In a significant victory for advocates of the initiative, a divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday ruled 4-3 that the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana passes legal muster and can now appear on the November election ballot, giving Floridians a direct say. Polls have shown a 3-to-1 majority of Floridians favoring legalization.
With 710,508 validated signatures statewide in Florida— 27, 359 more than the required 683,149 — and reaching signature requirements in the bare minimum of 14 congressional districts, People United for Medical Marijuana beat a Feb. 1 deadline for submitting petitions to the state.
It’s a matter of time before marijuana is legalized, for medical uses or not, even in Florida. But Attorney General Pam Bondi is doing her best to preserve a prohibition that relies on disinformation to benefit cops and jails at the expense of greater safety, less crime and more compassion, were marijuana to be legalized.
The idea of medical marijuana technically isn’t at issue in the case. Instead, Attorney General Pam Bondi, legislative leaders and medical, law enforcement and business groups argue that the ballot title and summary that would appear on the ballot could deceive voters about the scope of the amendment.
House Speaker Will Weatherford’s new plan–to let voters decide if they should weigh in on future expansion of gambling–could provide cover for Republican House members reluctant to expand gambling as the Legislature takes up the thorny issue during the upcoming session.
The Florida Supreme Court will try to sort through the conflicting arguments between Attorney General Pam Bondi, who opposes legalization, and proponents of the measure. The court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5, a key step in deciding whether voters will get to have their say next fall.
In a filing required because the group pushing the initiative has triggered an automatic review by the high court, Bondi wrote that the ballot language could deceive voters about the extent of marijuana use that would be allowed, a claim the measure’s proponents reject.
The first batch of result, based on early-voting and absentee ballots, show the school tax referendum failing by a wide margin, with 60 percent of voters opposed and 40 percent in favor. The numbers: 4,663 against, 3,105 for, so far.