hit tracker Florida Supreme Court to rule on abortion, marijuana amendments today – Newsmix.pics

Florida Supreme Court to rule on abortion, marijuana amendments today

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Florida Supreme Court has until the end of the day to determine if voters will get to weigh in this November on two proposed amendments addressing abortion rights and recreational marijuana.

The court chose not to release its opinions Thursday on the citizen ballot initiatives, which have have otherwise qualified for the 2024 ballot. The court was closed on Friday and over the weekend.

The Florida Supreme Court acts as a gatekeeper for the ballot, combing over each qualifying citizen ballot initiative to determine if voters can understand the language of the ballot summary. Additionally, a proposed amendment must be limited to a single subject.

The Amendment to Limit Government Interference with Abortion – designated Amendment 4 – would enshrine the right to abortion in the Florida Constitution, stating in part, “No law shall prohibit, penalize, delay, or restrict abortion before viability.”

Abortion rights advocates are watching the high-profile case closely, as it may be a bellwether for what’s to come when justices rule on the 15-week abortion ban signed into law by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in 2022. The case is blocking a more restrictive 6-week ban from taking effect.

The Florida Supreme Court previously ruled against some abortion restrictions, citing the privacy clause in the state’s constitution. The initiative’s sponsors referenced the privacy clause several times in briefs and oral arguments after Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody asked justices to strike down the proposed amendment.

However, in the years since the court ruled against abortion restrictions, its makeup has become considerably more conservative, with five of the seven appointed by DeSantis. The other two were placed on the bench by then-Republican Gov. Charlie Crist.

Amendment 3, Adult Personal Use of Marijuana, “allows adults 21 years or older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption.”

If passed by Florida voters, it would only allow Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTC) to legally sell cannabis. The effort to put the measure on the ballot was largely bankrolled by Trulieve, a dispensary chain that dominates the Florida’s medical market.

There are a limited amount of MMTC licenses in circulation, and when one of them is offered for sale, it can go for millions of dollars. The adult-use marijuana initiative does not allow individuals to grow their own cannabis.

In the marijuana case, the state argued that the ballot language is misleading.

“The sponsor has injected uncertainty and confusion about the innerplay between the proposed amendment and federal law,” argued Jeffrey DeSousa, Chief Deputy Solicitor General.

Proponents argued that voters are capable of making the decision.

“Voters going into the voting booth, knowing they’re voting on changing the organic law of the state will take that duty responsibly and seriously and really think about what they’re reading and this is what they want,” said John Dash, Attorney with Smart & Safe the campaign on marijuana legalization.

Political Analyst Tara Newsome said that having either of the issues on the ballot will get voters out to the polls.

“These issues are two of the most important issues to drive voters out, so in a in an election year, in a 2024 election year, where we’re worried about voter apathy, these are the kind of issues that drive even the most laissez faire voter out because they care about reproductive rights and they care about access to marijuana use.”

If they make the ballot, 60% of voters would have to vote “yes” to approve them.

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