Ever since the rights of animals (pregnant pigs) were enshrined into the Florida Constitution in 2002, the Florida Chamber of Commerce has made it a priority to champion and protect Florida’s Constitution from out-of-state and special interest groups.
Continuing our efforts to Protect Our Constitution, and in keeping with the Florida Chamber’s recently adopted Strategic Plan, the Florida Chamber’s Litigation Center has filed a court brief opposing a misleading and unlawful ballot measure that allegedly seeks to Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol to Establish Age, Licensing, and Other Restrictions (16-02).
The Florida Chamber’s court brief encourages the Florida Supreme Court to strike down this unconstitutional proposal. As written, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal should be disallowed because it:
• Is misleading, ambiguous and doesn’t clearly announce the purpose of the ballot measure, and
• Violates Florida’s single subject requirement.
The Florida Chamber’s Litigation Center filed our court brief earlier this month. Shortly afterwards, Attorney General Ashley Moody also filed a brief arguing the amendment should be removed from consideration for many of the same reasons the Florida Chamber argues. The Florida House of Representatives also filed in opposition.
Incredibly, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal is longer than Article 1 of the Florida Constitution and is longer than the previous 30 Constitutional amendments combined.
“There is no way 10 pages of the law can be summarized clearly in 75 words or less and would adequately convey to the voters what exactly they will be voting on.”Attorney General Ashley Moody
From a procedural standpoint, the recreational marijuana ballot proposal, in mid-September, had secured enough verified signatures to trigger an official review by the Florida Supreme Court. The proposal continues to collect signatures and as of today, has secured 92,403 signed petitions. The proposal must still collect another 673,924 signed verified petitions by February 1, 2020. Additionally, before the measure can be added to the 2020 general election ballot, it must receive approval from the Florida Supreme Court.
Since 1970, Florida’s Constitution has been amended more than 120 times, whereas the U.S. Constitution has only been amended 27 times.
The Florida Chamber’s opposition is less about the subject matter of this amendment, and more about the amendment being out of compliance with the process for amending the Constitution. However, we are also concerned about the health, safety, welfare and brand of Florida, so Florida can avoid the problems and bad brand Colorado and Oregon are experiencing.
If ever there was an issue that deserved clarity for voters, it’s this issue. Condensing 10 pages and over 6,000 words into a 75-word summary and a 15-word title needed to be in compliance with Florida’s constitutional amendment process, this ballot proposal clearly isn’t, and we hope the court agrees.
Please note, there are 27 amendments trying to qualify for the 2020 ballot, including four more marijuana proposals (two regarding recreational legalization, and two regarding medical marijuana), and the Florida Chamber team is monitoring all of them daily.
For additional information or to report fraudulent signature gathering activity, please call Christopher Emmanuel at 850-521-1242.
When it comes to protecting Florida’s Constitution, the Florida Chamber is leading a united business community to secure Florida’s future.