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Make it Legal Florida (MILF) has been trending the last couple of hours. On Wednesday, in a one of a kind court session that was conducted online, the Supreme Court listened to submissions on whether or not marijuana legalization should be on the ballot in 2022. For this to happen, the Florida Supreme Court will have to approve the ballot title and summary.
Some opposing groups such as the Florida chamber of commerce have tried to block the proposal to have marijuana on the ballot come 2022. This will be an amendment of section 33 of the Florida constitution which is referred to as Adult Use Marijuana Act.
The Attorney General Ashley Moody is in support of the opposition group. The Solicitor General for the State Amit Agarwal who is representing the AG was in “virtual” court this Wednesday representing his client. Agarwal asked the court to reject the marijuana proposal because it was in conflict with the federal law which clearly states the illegality of marijuana use for recreational purposes. He based his argument on the wordings of the proposal which could mislead voters into believing facts that are untrue. Below is the summary for the “Make It Legal Florida” initiative:
“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.”
This, Agarwal argued, would be in conflict with the federal laws regarding marijuana use and would imply permitting something that is outlawed at a federal level. He argued that it would make it hard for the police to implement this law. Furthermore, the federal government may be compelled to repeal the law in the future should need arise. In this case, there would be no need for the Supreme Court to create a law they would not be able to uphold in the future.
The attorney representing “Make It Legal Florida,” George Levesque argued that the summary of their proposal made it clear to the voters what the intention of the summary is; to permit adult-use marijuana in accordance with the law. This initiative, he stated, was “piggybacking” on the Medical Marijuana Act that had been passed in 2016. He went further to dispute any contradiction with the federal law as the state had no jurisdiction over the formulation of federal policies. The state of Florida can only formulate laws for the state and has no control over what the federal government decides to do.
Now it is up to the Supreme Court to decide whether this proposed constitutional amendment will feature in the 2022 ballot. The Supreme Court’s role is to determine whether the proposed constitutional amendments meet the legal threshold, this explains why the opposing parties are keen to point out areas that may fall short of legal requirements. It will take months before the final verdict of the court is known.
The case was heard via video conferencing on Wednesday. This happened due to the coronavirus pandemic that has affected Florida as well other parts of the world.
Previously, the “Make It Legal Florida” campaign pushed to have this amendment on the 2020 ballot but they failed to meet the deadline in February. MILF had submitted 553,975 signatures while they were required to have submitted 766,200 signatures by the deadline.
What Are The Marijuana Laws In Florida?
Adult use marijuana is illegal in Florida. Possession of not more than 20 grams will attract a fine of up to $1,000 or a year in prison. Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016 through a constitutional amendment which garnered a 71% vote.
What Is Make It Legal Florida?
“Make it Legal Florida” is a campaign advocating for the legalization of recreational marijuana in Florida. This campaign is spearheaded by cannabis company MedMen and back by numerous cannabis companies. Right now the campaign has been focusing on getting signatures to get the recreational marijuana petition on the 2022 ballot. The “Make It Legal Florida” campaign believes that legalizing recreational marijuana at a state level will help to:
- Boost the economy by an extra 100 million dollars in new revenues that could be used to fund, schools, healthcare and public safety
- Free up law enforcement to provide better services
- Help to combat the opioid addiction
- Provide safe access to marijuana
Medical Marijuana in Florida
Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in November 2016. Patients with debilitating medical conditions require a doctor’s recommendation to access medical marijuana. Personal cultivation of medical marijuana is however not allowed.
Earlier on, the law permitted specific marijuana products such as tinctures, oils, and sprays. The law was later amended to allow other forms of medical marijuana. Patients, or approved caregivers, are allowed to order medical marijuana supplies for up to 210 days in advance. Qualifying conditions for medical marijuana in Florida include:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Similar debilitating conditions as approved by the prescribing medical marijuana doctor
In June 2019, the Governor of Florida Ron DeSantis signed a bill to allow access to cannabis-derived drug for children suffering from severe epilepsy. The bill reclassified the drug from a Schedule I substance to Schedule V.
The “Make It Legal Florida” campaign is halfway through the process of getting marijuana on the 2022 ballot, the Supreme Court verdict is a clincher.