Florida AG — wife of a DEA agent — accused of 'not standing with the people' as she vows to fight legal pot
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, the wife of a Drug Enforcement Administration special agent, is being accused of “not standing with the people” after she vowed last week to fight a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana in the state, Politico reports.
The group Smart & Safe Florida, which is spearheading the ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for adults in the Sunshine State, currently has 786,747 signatures for its ballot question. As the Washington Examiner reports, “to get the ballot question before voters, it will
need to receive a number of signatures equal to that of eight percent of the votes cast in the last presidential election, which is equal to more than 885,000 people.”
According to Politico the measure "still needs to get an all-clear from the Florida Supreme Court" in order to go before Florida voters. At least 60 percent of Florida voters would have to vote for legal weed in order to make it law.
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But if Moody has her way, the question of legal weed won’t even make it on the ballot in Florida. Last week, Moody filed an petition with the Florida Supreme Court saying “she would argue that the proposed ballot summary of the amendment is misleading,” Politico reports.
In her letter to the Court, Moody requested an opinion “as to whether the proposed amendment ‘Adult Personal Use of Marijuana’ complies with the single-subject requirement” of the Florida Constitution and “technical requirements in section 101.161(1)” of the Florida Statutes. That statute dictates constitutional amendments “be printed in clear and unambiguous language” and “not exceeding 75 words in length,” among other requirements.
"I believe that the proposed amendment fails to meet the requirements of Section 101.161(1), Fla. Stat., and will present an additional argument through briefing at the appropriate time," Moody said in the letter.
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In a statement, Smart & Safe Florida said it “respectfully disagrees” with Moody’s challenge.
“We believe the ballot language,” Steve Vancore, a spokesperson for the medical marijuana company Trulieve, told Politico. Trulieve, which is bankrolling Smart & Safe Florida, “[expects] a positive ruling” from the state supreme court, Vancore said.
Critics of the attorney general spoke out against her decision to challenge the language of the initiative.
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“Once again our Attorney General is on the wrong side of history, wrong side of this issue and is not standing with the people." Florida Democratic Party chair Nikki Fried, a former Florida agriculture commissioner, told Politico. "Another attack on our democracy."
For Fred Grimm, a Fort Lauderdale journalist, there’s a clear driving force behind Moody’s fight against legal marijuana: 2024.
“Republicans don’t want pot as a running mate to Joe Biden on the Florida ballot,” Grimm wrote last Friday. “Because marijuana can do what Joe Biden can’t — rouse the apathetic wing of the Democratic Party.”
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“The GOP’s faux populists know ballot questions like these would have coattails long enough to blow up an election,” he added.