DeSantis Doesn’t Want Florida To Be “Reeking of Marijuana”, Vows To Stop Cannabis Measure

Florida Governor and former presidential candidate Ron DeSantis has intensified his opposition to marijuana legalization as the state approaches a crucial decision in the upcoming November ballot. In a recent statement, DeSantis pledged to actively engage in efforts to defeat the proposed cannabis reform, citing concerns over its potential impact on the state’s quality of life.

Addressing reporters on Tuesday, DeSantis expressed his intentions to intervene in initiatives such as the marijuana legalization proposal, alongside other issues like abortion rights. His remarks coincided with the commencement of the state’s “Freedom Month” tax holiday.

While he acknowledges the state’s existing medical marijuana program, he raised doubts about the genuine medical needs of registered patients and warned against the proliferation of cannabis use.

“It’s like, OK, we have medical marijuana in Florida,” DeSantis said. “Why would we want to have more?… You want to walk down the street here and smell it? Do you want to…not be able to take your family out to dinner because you’re worried about it?”

Citing examples from other legalized jurisdictions like Denver, Los Angeles, and New York City, DeSantis emphasized his opposition to what he perceives as the normalization of marijuana use and the commercial interests driving the legalization campaign.

“I don’t want this state to be reeking of marijuana,” he added. “We’re doing fine. We don’t need to do that.”

DeSantis also said that the motives of the legalization campaign were profit-driven, adding that “there’s people that will benefit financially if these things pass.”

“On the marijuana one, you’re going to have marijuana everywhere,” he quipped.

The governor’s stance comes amidst a backdrop of escalating debate over the potential consequences of marijuana legalization. Advocates argue that legalizing cannabis for recreational use could generate significant tax revenue and provide an alternative to opioid-based medications for conditions like PTSD, particularly among veterans.

However, DeSantis remains steadfast in his opposition, emphasizing concerns about the broad language of the proposed constitutional amendment and its potential implications for public health and safety, saying “the marijuana one is written so broadly, you are not going to be able to restrict where people use it.”

He reiterated warnings that legalization could lead to widespread use and impact the fabric of communities across the state.

Smart and Safe Florida

Despite assertions from DeSantis, the Smart and Safe Florida campaign, the driving force behind the ballot measure, contends that their proposal includes safeguards akin to those regulating tobacco use, empowering state legislators to restrict outdoor and public consumption of marijuana.

For the marijuana legalization initiative to pass into law, it would require at least 60 percent approval from voters. However, recent polling data suggests a mixed response, with USA Today/Ipsos indicating 56 percent support among registered voters, while a Florida Atlantic University and Mainstreet Research poll found only a 47 percent plurality in favor.

Economic analysts project significant revenue potential from marijuana legalization, estimating annual sales tax revenue ranging from $195.6 million to $431.3 million. This revenue could further increase if lawmakers choose to implement additional excise taxes, similar to those in other legalized states.

If approved, the measure would amend the state Constitution, allowing existing medical cannabis companies like Trulieve to sell marijuana to adults over 21. Notably, the proposal does not mandate home cultivation by consumers and lacks equity provisions favored by advocates, such as expungements for prior cannabis convictions.

Trulieve Cannabis (CSE: TRUL), the primary financial contributor to the campaign, has been instrumental in funding efforts to qualify the initiative for the ballot. The company’s CEO has refuted DeSantis’s claims, asserting that legalization could enhance residents’ quality of life.

In a bid to garner support, the Smart and Safe Florida campaign is targeting veterans, emphasizing the potential benefits of cannabis as a safer alternative to synthetic opioids for treating PTSD and related conditions.

As the debate surrounding marijuana legalization intensifies, both proponents and opponents are actively engaged in shaping public opinion ahead of the pivotal November vote.

Earlier this year, DeSantis entered the fray on another cannabis-related issue, asserting his belief that the federal gun ban for state-legal marijuana consumers is unconstitutional. While former Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried challenged this rule with a lawsuit against the Biden administration, DeSantis opted not to intervene.

During his tenure as a presidential candidate, DeSantis maintained a nuanced stance on marijuana legalization, expressing his commitment to respecting states’ decisions on the matter despite his personal reservations about its purported negative impact.

Information for this briefing was found via Marijuana Moment and the sources mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to this organization. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.

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