Florida Supreme Court Approves Medical Marijuana Ballot Question
Despite opposition from Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Florida Supreme Court officially ruled today that a ballot question that could approve use of medical marijuana is perfectly valid. This means the question will now all but certainly go before voters in November.
Bondi had challenged the proposed amendment on the grounds that it was worded vaguely and pertained to more than one issue. Amendments put before voters can address only a single subject.
"By reading the proposed amendment as a whole and construing the ballot title together with the ballot summary, we hold that the voters are given fair notice as to the chief purpose and scope of the proposed amendment, which is to allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain -- debilitating medical conditions," the court wrote in its decision. "We conclude that the voters will not be affirmatively misled regarding the purpose of the proposed amendment because the ballot title and summary accurately convey the limited use of marijuana, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, that would be authorized by the amendment consistent with its intent."
The decision came down to a close 4-3 vote. The three justices originally nominated by Democrats came down in favor and were joined by Charlie Crist appointee James E.C. Perry. The three other Republican-appointed justices (all appointed by Crist) dissented.
The news comes on the heels of the announcement by NORML of Florida that the proposed amendment now has enough signatures to make it to the ballot. As long as enough of those signatures are ruled valid, the medical marijuana question will be on the ballot in November.
Polling consistently shows high approval for medical marijuana in Florida. Some polls show support as high as 82 percent. State constitutional amendments put on the ballot need at least 60 percent approval before becoming law.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.