Florida justices OK medical marijuana for ballot
The Florida Supreme Court voted 4-3 on Monday to approve the medical marijuana initiative for November ballot.
The drive to get the a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana surpassed the number of needed signatures on Friday.
The proposed amendment would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for debilitating conditions.
Elections supervisors certified 710,508 signatures, more than the 683,149 needed to get on the ballot.
Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi challenged the language of the ballot summary. Her office has argued that the language will mislead voters into allowing more widespread use of medical marijuana than they would be led to believe in the 74-word summary.
In the court's advisory opinion released Monday, the court wrote that the ballot language meets the single subject requirement of the Florida Constitution and the ballot title and summary satisfy Florida statutes.
COURT DOCUMENT: Florida Supreme Court advisory opinion
In part, the ruling reads:
"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. 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."
Bondi issued the following statement:
"Today's ruling leaves the issue of medical marijuana in the hands of Florida's voters. I encourage every Floridian to read the full amendment in order to understand the impact it could have on Floridians."
Republicans blasted the ruling.
"Make no mistake: this is not about compassionate medical marijuana," said House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel. "This is about the Coloradofication of Florida, where the end game is a pot shop on every street corner."
In a statement issued by his office, Gov. Rick Scott took a more measured approach.
"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative," Scott said. "But, having seen the terrible affects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it."
Copyright 2014 by News4Jax.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.