Florida is proud of its watermelons, so proud that the state requires that melons sold commercially in Florida carry an official seal indicating that they were grown and distributed in the state.

by | Jul 20, 2021 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Florida is proud of its watermelons, so proud that the state requires that melons sold commercially in Florida carry an official seal indicating that they were grown and distributed in the state. Florida defends this policy on the grounds that the state uses high agricultural standards, has strict control over pesticides and other chemicals that producers can use and these regulations protect the health and safety of its citizens. Watermelons from outside Florida must have a seal indicating where they were grown and distributors from outside Florida must pay a tax for the privilege of selling watermelons in Florida. The money generated from this tax is used to support agricultural research in Florida.
These regulations were challenged by the South Georgia Watermelon Federation on the grounds that the Florida policies and the tax particularly were designed to simply protect the Florida agricultural industry from competition outside the state. The Federation claims that, although Congress has not legislated on this issue, the Florida regulation nevertheless unconstitutionally impedes interstate commerce, thus conflicting with the dormant national commerce power. Florida counters these claims arguing that its agricultural industry has suffered enormously from various pests and diseases in recent years, pointing to its decimated orange and citrus industry as one notable example, and that the restrictions on watermelons from outside the state represents a reasonable and legitimate policy designed to protect its farmers.
The federal district court and court of appeals upheld the Florida regulations. The Federation has appealed to the United States Supreme Court.

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