Adult-Use Marijuana Is a 'No-Brainer' for Two Florida Lawmakers but Just a 'No' for Most
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Lawmakers in Florida want to give residents the right to buy, possess and use marijuana recreationally. Problem is, not enough lawmakers in Florida want to give people that right.
The state Legislature is controlled by Republicans and newly elected Gov. Ron DeSantis, also a Republican, is opposed to adult-use legalization. That makes passage of marijuana legalization highly unlikely, but that hasn’t stopped Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Miami Beach Rep. Michael Grieco from introducing a bill that would legalize possession of marijuana for recreational use.
Guillermo Smith boiled his argument down to a simple point, according to FOX 35 News in Orlando: “It's just kind of a no-brainer, you know? There's no reason why the state cannot regulate cannabis in a similar way they regulate alcohol use."
Florida joins the 2019 state legalization trend.
Proposals to legalize marijuana in New Jersey, New Mexico and New Hampshire look to have good chances of becoming law, and New York lawmakers are working hard on legalization legislature but don't expect to be done as soon as Governor Andrew Cuomo wanted.
Florida and New York are significant. They are, respectively, the third and fourth most populous states in the U.S. and together have about 12.5 percent of the country’s population. California, the most populous state and home to one of every 12 Americans, already has legalized marijuana.
The bill filed by Guillermo Smith and Grieco would allow those 21 or older to purchase and possess up to 2.5 ounces. It would restrict using marijuana to private places. The bill also directs 5 percent of all marijuana revenue to the state Department of Health to fund grants that support peer-reviewed marijuana research.
Doomed to failure.
This is the first marijuana legalization bill ever filed in Florida, according to the Miami Herald. However, there is little chance of success. In addition to opposition from DeSantis, Republican House Speaker José Oliva opposes even medical marijuana.
Grieco told the Herald that’s no concern. He anticipates changes are coming to the Sunshine State and across the nation. In Florida, voters may consider a ballot initiative in 2020 legalizing marijuana if the Legislature hasn’t already done so by then. He also anticipates that Congress will at least debate New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, which would legalize marijuana nationally. As Grieco said, “Even if we get pushback, it continues the conversation.”
For his part, Guillermo Smith told the Herald, ““No one is dying from cannabis overdoses, but they are getting arrested and being given criminal records for no good reason ... We expect that it’s always going to be a tough legislative route, but that’s not a reason to stop advocating for it.”
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