Florida – Despite the fact that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is not supporter or advocate for marijuana legalization in the state of Florida, Florida voters will most like have the power to decide on their own later this year. This information was also confirmed by DeSantis himself recently.
“I think the (Florida Supreme Court) is going to approve that, so it’ll be on the ballot,” DeSantis said, as reported by Marijuana Moment.
Cannabis can be legalized as early as 2025 if at least 60% of voters agree
A proposal for adults to use marijuana legally might become part of Florida’s constitution if over 60% of voters agree. This change could happen by May 2025. However, Florida’s Attorney General, Ashley Moody, has concerns. She says that amendments should only cover one topic and doubts if this proposal meets all legal requirements.
The group behind this, Smart & Safe Florida, has gathered over a million signatures, enough to consider putting it on the ballot if the Supreme Court agrees. They’ve also raised over $40 million, mostly from Trulieve, a big dispensary chain in Florida.
Governor DeSantis doesn’t support legalizing marijuana. He has mentioned several reasons, like the increased strength of today’s marijuana and the risk of it being mixed with dangerous substances like fentanyl. He shared these views while campaigning for president last year.
In his early days as governor, DeSantis did something that those wanting marijuana reform liked. He disagreed with the previous governor, Rick Scott, about banning smokable cannabis. Before, only vaporizer cups were sold in dispensaries, not loose flower.
“I look at someone who has Lou Gehrig’s disease or terminal cancer or multiple sclerosis … I think the Florida voters who voted for that wanted them to have access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician. Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?” DeSantis said. “I want people to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”
Florida Governor DeSantis is known for opposing cannabis
“If you look at some of the stuff that’s now coming down, there’s a lot of really bad things in it. It’s not necessarily what you would’ve had 30 years ago when someone’s in college and they’re doing something. You have some really, really bad stuff in there, so I think having the ability to identify that, I think, that’s safety, and quite frankly when you get into some of that stuff, it’s not medicinal at that point for sure,” DeSantis said, in response to a reporter’s question in 2021.
In 2022, the Governor of Florida strongly opposed the idea of using marijuana for fun. He complained about the strong, unpleasant smell in places where it’s legal.
“I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places. I don’t want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely,” DeSantis said.
Despite these qualms, it appears the Governor has made his peace with voters deciding on this one.
A poll by Mason-Dixon in the spring showed only 50% support for the amendment, not enough to pass it. But other polls show much higher support. For example, a March poll by the University of North Florida found 70% of people in Florida support legal marijuana for adults over 21. In November, 67% said they support the citizens’ initiative to legalize it.
Since the vote will be during a presidential election, more people are likely to vote than in other elections. And with President Joe Biden possibly changing the rules on cannabis, there might be a shift towards reform in Florida’s voting booths.