Medical marijuana is now legal in Florida. This has been a longtime coming.
In 2016, the citizens of Florida voted overwhelmingly in favor of a constitutional amendment that allows for medical marijuana. Nevertheless, in 2017 then-Gov. Rick Scott signed a law that banned smoking marijuana of all forms.
The ban was overturned on March 18, 2019, when Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to repeal the ban.
Not long after DeSantis took office in January, he called on the Florida legislature to send a bill to his desk that would legalize medical marijuana by March 15.
On Monday, DeSantis stated: “Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016. I think my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld. Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution. I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional.”
Republican State Sen. Jeff Brandes co-sponsored the bill with Democrat Linda Stewart. According to Brandes, he was glad to have accomplished what voters asked for years ago. He told CNN that he has always been in favor of medical marijuana and believed that was what voters wanted in 2016.
The new law allows patients to receive 2.5 ounces of whole flower marijuana every 35 days. Patients who are under 18 can smoke medical cannabis if they have a terminal condition and receive a second opinion from a pediatrician.
The Marijuana Policy Project is a group that seeks to decriminalize marijuana, stated that the law is a giant step forward and allows patients more treatment options.
“(Medical marijuana) should be an option available to patients and a decision for patients to make with their doctors, not one that should be made by government officials.”
It is likely that recreational marijuana will likely be on the ballot in upcoming elections in Florida, according to Brandes. He believes it would be likely to pass in 2022 or 2024 and people should be prepared.
By Jeanette Smith
CNN: Two years after voters approved it, Florida legalizes smoking medical marijuana
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