Attorney General Ashley Moody weighs in against legalizing recreational cannabis in FL

By: - May 16, 2023 5:16 pm

Marijuana leaves. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody has submitted ballot language to the Florida Supreme Court for a proposed 2024 constitutional amendment to legalize recreational cannabis in Florida. She also informed the court that she opposes the measure.

Moody told the high court that she believes the proposed amendment “fails” to meet the requirements of Florida law, but she didn’t explain the reason for her opposition. She did indicate she would present additional arguments later in the process.

The measure on recreational cannabis is being sponsored by the group Smart & Safe Florida, which has spent more than $38 million to attempt to get the measure on the ballot.

Nearly all of that funding has come from Trulieve, the largest cannabis company in Florida and one of the largest in the nation. The group needs to get 891,253 valid signatures from around the state to qualify to get on the ballot, and Smart & Safe Florida is well on its way to achieving that goal.  The group has submitted 767,747 valid signatures as of Tuesday afternoon, according to the Florida Division of Elections website.

The ballot measure, called “Adult Personal Use of Marijuana,” would allow for the possession, purchase, or use of marijuana products or marijuana accessories by an adult 21 years of age or older for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise.” The measure would allow an individual to possess up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use.

Once a group working on a citizen’s led initiative on the ballot reaches the 25% threshold of the more than 891,000 valid signatures required to get on the ballot, the attorney general is mandated to request an advisory opinion from the state’s Supreme Court to determine if the proposal complies with the single-subject requirement and whether the ballot title and summary of the amendment complies with the Florida Constitution.

Moody opposed a similar proposed constitutional amendment that would allow for recreational marijuana use in 2020, from the group Make it Legal Florida. She told the Florida Supreme Court at that time that the ballot summary was “affirmatively misleading, and the initiative should be kept off the ballot.”

In 2021, the Florida Supreme Court voted 5-2 to strike down the proposal, ruling it to be “misleading.” Two months later, the high court rejected a second proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational cannabis.

Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Mitch Perry
Mitch Perry

Mitch Perry has covered politics and government in Florida for more than two decades. Most recently he is the former politics reporter for Bay News 9. He has also worked at Florida Politics, Creative Loafing and WMNF Radio in Tampa. He was also part of the original staff when the Florida Phoenix was created in 2018.