Florida Republicans declare opposition to recreational marijuana and abortion rights amendments

by | May 7, 2024

The Republican Party of Florida officially opposed two constitutional amendments on the November ballot, aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana and extending abortion rights, citing them as misguided efforts pushed by a minority to promote a radical agenda.

The Republican Party of Florida has taken a formal stance against two key constitutional amendments set for the November ballot — the legalization of recreational marijuana and extending abortion rights.

The opposition was confirmed during the party’s Executive Board meeting in Orlando on Saturday, as it resolved against Amendment 3, which proposes legalizing marijuana for adults, and Amendment 4, which would enshrine abortion rights in the Florida Constitution.

“Amendments 3 and 4 are unnecessary attempts by an increasingly shrinking minority who know the only way to win support for their radical agenda is to confuse and mislead the electorate,” said party Chairman Evan Power.

Amendment 3, backed by Smart & Safe Florida and heavily funded by cannabis retailer Trulieve, aims to permit adults aged 21 and older to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products for non-medical use. If ratified, state economists estimate the initiative could generate between $195.6 million and $431.3 million in annual sales tax revenue. When revenue associated with new tourists drawn to the state by legalized marijuana is taken into account, state economists forecast an additional $43.6 million per year.

A University of North Florida (UNF) Public Opinion Research Lab poll published in November suggests strong support for the amendment’s approval, with sixty-seven percent of respondents in favor the purchase and possession of small amounts.

Following authorization by the Florida Supreme Court to appear on ballots in April, the amendment requires 60 percent of the vote in order to pass.

Amendment 4 seeks to establish the right to abortion in Florida up until the point of fetal viability — estimated at around 24 weeks. Current state law prohibits most abortions after six-weeks.

The Florida Supreme Court heard oral arguments pertaining to the abortion amendment earlier this year after Attorney General Ashley Moody contended that the proposal misleadingly claims it would prevent any laws from “prohibiting, penalizing, delaying, or restricting abortion,” despite federal laws like the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act that impose such restrictions — a position maintained by the state Republican party.

“Amendment 4 … dramatically expands and legalizes the systemic killing of unborn babies in the state of Florida, potentially up until birth under the guise of protecting women’s health,” the party wrote in its list of resolutions.

The justices scrutinized the argument’s premise, questioning the extent to which voters should be expected to understand the legal nuances the amendment implies, especially in light of federal constraints.

In February, the State Executive Committee of the Republican Party of Florida formally declared its opposition to Amendment 4. The resolution was largely predicated upon the belief that life begins at conception and criticizes efforts to circumvent legislative processes by directly presenting the amendment to voters, perceived as undermining Florida’s legislative and judicial authority.

“Radical activists have collected petition signatures that would place on the November ballot a constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortions … which would bypass the delegated authority of the Legislature and override the right to life laws in effect in the State of Florida,” reads a portion of the decree.

The same UNF poll found that 62 percent of respondents would support the amendment, while 29 percent expressed opposition to the measure. 9 percent were undecided or refused to respond.


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