Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Florida attorney general comes out against recreational marijuana amendment

It’s the third constitutional amendment Attorney General Ashley Moody has come out against this year.
Attorney General Ashley Moody. [BRONTE WITTPENN | Times] ["BRONTE WITTPENN | TIMES" | Tampa Bay Times]
Published Sep. 11

A proposed constitutional amendment allowing recreational marijuana should not go before voters, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced on Wednesday.

Why? It’s simply too long.

At 10 single-spaced pages, the proposed amendment is longer than Article I of Florida’s constitution, and longer than the previous 30 constitutional amendments combined, she said in a statement.

“There is no way 10 pages of the law can be summarized clearly in 75 words or less,” Moody said. “That is why I will ask the Florida Supreme Court to seriously consider the sheer length and ambiguous language chosen by the sponsor."

The amendment is called “Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions.”

It would limit recreational marijuana use to people 21 and older, but it allows growing marijuana as well. The amendment also requires the state to adopt a new licensing structure for marijuana growing, manufacturing, testing and selling, and it allows local governments to regulate if the state “fails to timely act.”

The group behind it, Regulate Florida, is chaired by Tampa attorney Michael Minardi, and it has raised only $180,000 since 2015.

It’s one of two amendments legalizing recreational marijuana that have a chance to go before voters in 2020.

The other campaign is both better funded than Regulate Florida and more narrow — and it’s backed by the medical marijuana industry.

The new effort, filed just three weeks ago, hopes to amend the constitution to allow adults 21 or older to have, use, purchase and transport up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for “personal use” and gives existing medical marijuana treatment centers in the state the exclusive right to sell it.

The Make it Legal Florida proposal is chaired by Nick Hansen, a lobbyist for a California-based medical marijuana chain, MedMen, and former adviser to Republican state Sen. Jeff Brandes, of St. Petersburg.

MedMen and Atlanta-based marijuana giant Surterra — both of which operate in Florida — are behind the nearly $1.2 million raised so far in the last 30 days.

But only Minardi’s amendment has enough signatures so far to trigger an automatic review by the Florida Supreme Court.

The court could toss out the proposed amendment if they decide it’s too vague or deals with more than one subject.

Even if the court approves it, the group would have to gather more than 766,000 valid signatures before voters see it. Currently, it has 89,061 valid signatures, according to the Florida Secretary of State’s website.

Moody’s predecessor, former Attorney General Pam Bondi, rarely came out against constitutional amendments.

But it’s the third proposed amendment to the constitution that Moody has come out against this year, a product, in part, of the number of left-leaning amendments that groups are hoping to get before voters on the 2020 ballot.

She called a proposed amendment to ban assault weapons “deceitful and misleading,” and she called a proposed “energy choice” amendment a veiled attempt to “eliminate” the state’s investor-owned utilities.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with the digital subscription fails 2-3.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  3. FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night before he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records. That’s according to two people familiar with the matter. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death.. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File) AP
    “The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” said the nation’s top prisons administrator to Senators on Tuesday.
  4. The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts illuminated its new sign for the first time on Dec. 6, 2010. Times (2010)
    The historic donation that renamed the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is still impacting Tampa Bay’s arts community.
  5. In this Thursday, Aug. 1, file photo, Amanda Kondrat'yev, the woman accused of throwing a sports drink at U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in June outside a town hall meeting, arrives at Winston Arnow Federal Court House in Pensacola, Fla. Kondrat'yev has been sentenced to 15 days in federal custody for throwing the sports drink at Gaetz. TONY GIBERSON  |  AP
    Amanda Kondrat’yev pleaded guilty to assault in August and had faced up to a year in jail.
  6. On the issue of whether to retroactively apply changes in Florida’s sentencing laws to inmates currently in prison, Gov. Ron DeSantis says he prefers to deal with cases using the clemency process. STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    Hundreds of Florida inmates are serving sentences no longer in state law, according to new research.
  7. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  8. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  9. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, filed a bill, HB 1161, to implement online voter registration in 2018.
    This week, GOP senators rallied support around Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to become Senate president for the 2023 and 2024 legislative session.
  10. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, right, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. SUSAN WALSH  |  AP
    Experts on foreign policy said it was ridiculous to think that one person could turn a country “bad.”
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement