Court Hawk
a legal weed concept of a marijuana leaf and a wooden gavel
Shutterstock

New Law Affecting Recreational Marijuana Causing Supporters to Fire Back

Arguments are being disputed by backers of a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow people to use recreational marijuana.

Marijuana Supporters ‘Make It Legal’ Committee Files Legal Brief

A 28-page brief was filed by Attorneys for the political committee Make It Legal Florida last week. The bill was filed at the Florida Supreme Court.

It said that the Legislature could not erect new legal barriers to the proposed amendment. Further, the bill states, “this train left the station long before” the law was passed in March.

Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the law. Within, it takes a series of steps in an attempt to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives.

It calls on the Florida Supreme Court in its wording. The bills asks them to consider whether the proposed amendments are “facially invalid under the United States Constitution.”

A brief was filed by the Senate that says the new law bolsters older arguments by the Supreme Court. They say it should block the proposal because of conflicts with federal laws that support making marijuana illegal.

Attorneys Say Marijuana Proposal Does Not Conflict with Laws

Make It Legal Florida attorneys Ashley Hoffman Lukis and George Levesque wrote about the bill in the filing. Their opinion is that the law shouldn’t be applied retroactively to the recreational-marijuana proposal.

They wrote that the proposal, which could appear on the 2022 ballot, does not conflict with federal laws or the U.S. Constitution even if it were applied retroactively.

“If passed, the amendment would decriminalize the sale and possession of marijuana under Florida law within the limited contours of the amendment,” read the briefing.

“This change in state law would reflect a rational and permissible policy choice by Florida voters to cease using the state’s limited resources to prosecute conduct that is currently unlawful.

“The amendment does not mandate any Floridian to violate federal law. Nor does it have any effect on federal law enforcement, or purport to immunize Floridians from violations of federal law — nor could it.

“Simply put, divergent policy choices by the state and federal government with regard to the criminalization of certain conduct does not establish a facial violation of the United States Constitution.”

Initiative Misleads Voters, Opponents Argue

The proposed conflicts with federal drug laws, leading to criticism from many opponents of recreational marijuana use.

Attorney General Ashley Moody, an opponent of the initiative, contends that voters would not be adequately informed of the conflict. Thus, it will cause confusion among voters.

“Because the misleading ballot language provides an adequate and independent ground for resolving this case, the [Supreme] Court need not — and, based on traditional principles of judicial restraint, should not — address the facial validity of the proposed amendment under the United States Constitution,” read Moody’s brief.