Most marijuana reform thus far has taken place via public referendum, which means we vote on initiatives put forth on our own rather than relying on a legislative body to simply do its job. That’s okay. Whatever gets us one step closer to complete marijuana legalization: we’ll take it. Florida legislators recently filed a bill to legalize recreational weed, but based on the statistics — and the fact that Florida’s population is aging — we don’t see any reason to be optimistic about its passage.
HB 343 and SB 710 would both legalize recreational weed in the state of Florida. The bills were introduced by Orlando Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith and Pinellas County Senator Jeff Brandes, respectively, about a week ago.
Senator Brandes said, “It’s a personal liberty issue for me. It’s really a question of when adult use is going to be legal.”
But he acknowledged that the reasons to legalize go much further than personal liberty: “I think it will generate additional revenue for the state,” he said. “But it will help in a variety of ways. It’s not just the revenue that comes in. It’s also the fact that your law enforcement is now focusing on more serious crimes than trying to find somebody who is walking around with a joint in their pocket.”
And there are a number of other factors that might influence lawmakers to vote one way or the other, especially because public opinion still makes it a controversial issue. For example, even in states where recreational or medical marijuana have been legalized, the topic still comes up during divorce or child custody hearings quite often — and if one parent can point the finger at another parent and say that marijuana affected decision-making, then the judge is still likely to side with the parent who says they don’t consume any drugs.
This is even more of an issue in Florida, where recreational marijuana still isn’t legal. Judges are far more likely to side with the law and be unswayed by public opinion on the drug (because that’s their job, unfortunately). Visit website here if you believe that marijuana might have impacted your divorce or child custody rights in Florida.
Smith said, “The need to end Florida’s prohibition of responsible adult use of cannabis is long overdue. This bill creates a sensible bipartisan framework for legalization that can earn the support needed to pass the Florida legislature. It doesn’t include everything I’d like to see, but it’s the fresh start Floridians deserve to finally move past the draconian cannabis prohibition era.”
The bill would make the purchase of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana legal and allow products to contain two grams or less of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. According to the propositions, the two bills together work to “establish a robust and free-market regulatory approach to the governance of cultivation, processing, and retail sales of both medical and adult-use marijuana.”
We’ll have to wait and see. Medical marijuana has been legal in Florida in some form since 2014.