TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The push to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida continues to grow with the ACLU now backing the 2024 ballot initiative.
The organization filed a brief Monday that lit into Florida’s Supreme Court’s handling of ballot initiatives, saying justices are making it an “acrobatic exercise.”
“The ACLU is arguing that the Supreme Court now has a history over the last several years in Florida of striking down these initiatives,” Will Cooper, a constitutional attorney said.
Cooper said having the backing of a well-known legal institution like the ACLU will strengthen the effort, and it might be a tall order.
“If the Supreme Court really does want to let the people speak and get out of the business of striking these initiatives down and acted by the people of Florida, I think they certainly have a sufficient basis to let it stand,” he added.
The brief notes that over the past five years, Florida’s Supreme Court has struck down four out of nine citizen initiatives it reviewed from the ballot, and declined to review one. In contrast, the court struck zero citizen initiatives out of the seven it reviewed in the five years before that.
Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody is hoping that will be the case this time around too, saying in a previous filing the ballot summary is vague and that voters won’t know what they’re supporting.
In a previous statement, Moody’s representative said it’s essential Floridians know what they’re voting for.
”When voters decide whether to amend the Florida Constitution, it is essential that they know what they are voting for. It is the duty of our office to address the validity of an initiative petition before it appears on a ballot. It is incumbent upon us to inform the Court when a ballot summary misleads voters about the effects of the proposed constitutional change,” Moody’s communications director Kylie Mason stated.
If the Florida Supreme Court does not rule by April 1, 2024 then the constitutional amendment will go on the ballot. However, in the past few years, they have ruled some time in either February or March on similar matters.
If it clears this hurdle in the Supreme Court, the use of recreational marijuana will be up to Florida voters who would need to approve the measure by over 60%.