Florida Supreme Court sets Dec. 5 date for medical marijuana arguments

Florida Supreme Court hbtv hemp beach tvAdvocates to legalize medical marijuana in Florida and Attorney General Pam Bondi’s objections will spar over the next six weeks in the Florida Supreme Court. People United for Medical Marijuana is seeking to get the issue before voters on the November 2014 ballot and last month submitted petitions and ballot language for the vote. Last week, however, Bondi argued that the language in the proposal is too vague and misleading and asked the Supreme Court to issue an opinion that would throw it out.

The court now has set up a timetable for the debate. People United and Bondi must submit their written arguments by Nov. 8. Each side’s responses to the other side’s written arguments are due Feb. 18. The court will then hear oral arguments — 30 minutes per side — on Dec. 5.

If the Supreme Court sides with People United, then the proposed amendment would clear another hurdle in organizers attempts to get it on the ballot. They still have to gather 683,149 valid petition signatures by Feb. 1, 2014. And if it gets on the ballot, it must get at least 60 percent of the votes to be adopted.

There is another outstanding issue. The state Financial Impact Estimating Conference intends to file a financial impact statement on the proposed amendment. That is due by Nov. 8, and the court wants to schedule separate arguments for that.

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