Apr 1, 2024 - Politics

Recreational marijuana legalization will be on Florida ballots this November, court rules

A row of green plants growing in a greenhouse.

Cannabis plants in a greenhouse at a Cresco Labs Inc. facility in Indiantown, near Jupiter. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida voters will have their say this November on whether to legalize recreational marijuana.

Why it matters: A majority of Florida voters support adult-use marijuana, polls show.

State of play: State Supreme Court justices on Monday approved the language of a proposed constitutional amendment seeking to make the policy change.

  • Their ruling comes five months after justices heard from lawyers representing the group backing the amendment and the office of Attorney General Ashley Moody, who asked the court to disqualify the initiative.

Between the lines: Whether it will be enough of a majority is still in question, the ballot initiative needs at least 60% approval from voters.

  • Two-thirds of respondents to a University of North Florida poll conducted in November said they would vote in favor.
  • But a Florida Chamber of Commerce poll found an approval rate 10 points lower, just under the 60% threshold. The chamber joined Moody in challenging the initiative.

Flashback: The last time Floridians weighed in on marijuana policy was in 2016, when 71% of voters greenlit an expansion of the state's medical marijuana program.

The big picture: While the drug remains illegal at the federal level, recreational cannabis use is legal in 24 states as of November, when Ohio voters approved their own ballot initiative.

Catch up quick: Florida's amendment was proposed by Smart & Safe Florida, a political committee almost entirely funded by medical marijuana giant Trulieve, per the Florida Phoenix.

Yes, but: The court snuffed out two similar initiatives in 2021 over concerns about language.

What's next: The proposal will be on the ballot in the Nov. 5 General Election.

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