Triple Decision: Supreme Court Allows Abortion, Marijuana on the Ballot, But Triggers 6-Week Abortion Ban

Triple Decision: Supreme Court Allows Abortion, Marijuana on the Ballot, But Triggers 6-Week Abortion Ban

The Florida Supreme Court has released three decisions regarding abortion and marijuana, allowing voters to decide. In the meantime, a 6-week abortion ban will be in place

Liv Caputo
Liv Caputo
April 1, 2024

TALLAHASSEE, FL—No, this is not an April Fools prank; the Florida Supreme Court delivered Monday the monumental decision of allowing both abortion and cannabis to be placed on the November 5th General Election ballot. However, the Court also upheld a 15-week abortion ban—which will soon trigger a six-week ban into place.

After holding out until 4 p.m. on their final deadline of April 1st, the Supreme Court has finally ruled that Floridians can vote to encapsulate abortion rights and recreational marijuana in the state constitution come November. 60% of voters must say "yes" to the respective amendments to officially edit the constitution.

"A Tragedy for Women of Florida": Abortion is on the ballot, but a 6-week ban is also now in place

In an unexpected move, the Court also announced its upholding of the 2022, 15-week abortion ban. However, a 6-week abortion ban passed last year is contingent on the legality of the 2022 ban; meaning that once the Court finds the 15-week ban constitutional, the 6-week ban will go into effect in 30 days' time.

"They have just triggered the six-week abortion ban in the middle of this election cycle," Anna Hochkammer, the Executive Director of Florida Women's Freedom Coalition, told The Floridian. "It’s a tragedy for the women of Florida, but the true intent of the anti-abortion access extremists is now clear."

Hochkammer said that the Court's simultaneous—and seemingly contradictory—decision to allow Floridians to vote on a constitutional amendment to enshrine abortion rights will give abortion supporters a chance to come out in droves at the polls.

"Florida is going to vote to protect abortion access. It will cause an increased turnout of women, young people, and people who care passionately about personal freedom and freedom from government interference in our private lives," she said, claiming that the issue of abortion rights will unify Floridians across party lines.

"There's nothing controversial about abortion access. We're seeing polling nationwide and statewide that shows that if anything, support for abortion being legal all or most of the time is strengthening and hardening," she added, referencing a University of North Florida poll in which 62% of surveyed voters said they would support the abortion ballot measure.

The abortion rights amendment—Amendment 4—protects the right to have an abortion until "fetal viability", or when the fetus has the capacity to survive outside of the womb. Experts widely put this at around 20-24 weeks of pregnancy.

"I've never been a huge fan of constitutional amendments, it doesn't matter my personal beliefs: on things I agree with, I don't like it. On things I don't agree with, I don't like it," Republican Sen. Keith Perry told The Floridian, explaining the difficult process of fixing constitutional amendments.

He continued, stating that the majority of Floridians do not want abortion fully outlawed nor fully allowed at all stages. The way he reads the amendment, he says, it appears "to go to far extremes" by granting abortion access until viability.

"Is This What We Want for Florida?": The recreational marijuana measure will head to voters

The other landmark decision handed down Monday was regarding marijuana legalization. The Court has allowed the legalization of recreational marijuana—for those over 21—to go to the ballot for voters to decide on. Designated as Amendment 3, the measure allows certain adults to recreationally possess, purchase, or use marijuana products.

According to the same University of North Florida poll, 67% of surveyed voters said they would vote "yes" on the marijuana measure.

"The good thing that we have is that you have other states that have legalized marijuana and you can look to them and say, 'ok, we've seen it in action, we've seen its results, is this what we want for Florida?'" Sen. Perry said. If Florida votes in favor of recreational marijuana, it will become the 25th state to legalize the substance.

Florida joins Germany and Virginia in recent cannabis news: just today, Germany decriminalized recreational marijuana, while earlier this week Virginia killed a bill allowing markets to commercially sell the drug.


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Liv Caputo

Liv Caputo

Livia Caputo is a senior at Florida State University, working on a major in Criminology, and a triple minor in Psychology, Communications, and German. She has been working on a journalism career for the past year, and hopes to become a successful reporter after graduation. Her work has been cited in Fox News, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail

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