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Florida Supreme Court strikes down recreational marijuana amendment for 'misleading' text

The proposed amendment aimed to be on the 2022 ballot and is sponsored by Make It Legal Florida.
Credit: AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File
FILE: Cannabis

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Supreme Court struck a blow to a proposed recreational marijuana amendment that was set to appear on voters' ballots in 2022. 

The court ruled Thursday to reject the proposed amendment because the text voters would read before casting their vote was "affirmatively misleading." 

According to an opinion published by the court, the proposed amendment would allow adults ages 21 and older to "possess, use, display, purchase or transport" up to two and a half ounces of marijuana "for personal use for any reason." 

The proposed summary would read as follows on the ballot, according to the court:

Permits adults 21 years or older to possess, use, purchase, display, and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and marijuana accessories for personal use for any reason. Permits Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers to sell, distribute, or dispense marijuana and marijuana accessories if clearly labeled and in childproof packaging to adults. Prohibits advertising or marketing targeted to persons under 21. Prohibits marijuana use in defined public places. Maintains limitations on marijuana use in defined circumstances.

The court says the summary fails to meet state requirements to ensure proposed amendments are "unambiguous" and properly inform voters. 

The justices ruled to agree with opponents of the amendment who said the summary's use of the word "permits" in the first sentence "misleads voters into believing that the recreational use of marijuana in Florida will be free of any repercussions, criminal or otherwise." 

The court said that while the amendment itself properly explained that recreational use of marijuana could still be prosecuted under federal law, the summary failed to properly convey that, going against Florida statutes. 

Justices ruled in a 5-2 decision. 

In January, two Florida lawmakers proposed identical legislation to legalize recreational marijuana in both the House and Senate. This legislation is separate from the proposed amendment. The Senate version of the bill was introduced in March and the House version had its first reading in March.

You can read the full Supreme Court opinion here:

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