Florida Governor Ron DeSantis anticipates the inclusion of the marijuana legalization proposal on the November ballot. DeSantis expressed optimism that proponents of marijuana legalization would prevail in the Supreme Court, despite resistance from Ashley Moody, the state’s attorney general, who is attempting to stop the vote.
The Florida Supreme Court has not yet rendered a decision, which is expected by April 1, 2024, in the lawsuit against the Smart and Safe Florida campaign, despite hearing oral arguments in November.
It’s unclear if DeSantis is merely forecasting based on the difficulties at hand or if he has heard back from the court regarding the case’s current standing, which is still considering the Attorney General’s legal challenge. Moody has urged the court to strike down the proposal, even though legalization advocates were able to gather about a million signatures to get it on the ballot. Despite his opposition to the reform and his campaign vow to oppose federal decriminalization, the governor stated that Florida residents should have the final say on the matter this time around.
Before withdrawing from the GOP presidential nomination race, DeSantis stated that if elected president, he would accept state decisions regarding cannabis legalization, even if he believes the reform is detrimental. Despite falling short of the state’s 60% requirement for passing, the reform initiative is supported by most potential voters, according to a recent poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Still, past surveys, such as a University of North Florida survey—showed that 67% of respondents supported the initiative, indicating high support.
Should the measure be passed, it will change the Florida constitution to allow already-established medical marijuana businesses to sell cannabis to anyone over the age of 21 years of age. Cannabis concentrate product purchases are capped at five grams, and home cultivation is not allowed.
Additionally, activists’ preferred equality provisions, such as expungements or other forms of relief for those with prior cannabis convictions, are absent from the measure.
According to DeSantis’ economic analysts, should voters approve the measure, new sales tax income may range from $195.6 million to $431.3 million a year. And those numbers might increase significantly if legislators were to apply an extra excise tax on marijuana sales, similar to other states where cannabis is legal.
However, DeSantis has stated unequivocally that he still doesn’t support the bill, regardless of its possible economic benefits. Recently, he made the claim that some people are utilizing the medical cannabis program as a cover for recreational use, which may be contributing to the state’s rise in the number of patients.
The entire cannabis industry, including leading companies such as Canopy Growth Corp. (NASDAQ: CGC) (TSX: WEED), will be watching the outcome of the matter before the state supreme court and the polls later this year.
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