Two Democrats in the Florida House -- state Rep. Michael Grieco of Miami Beach and state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith of Orlando -- introduced a proposal easing restrictions on recreational marijuana use in the Sunshine State.
“The bill would create a path to full access to cannabis in Florida and a structure for its cultivation, sale, and taxation,” Grieco’s office noted on Wednesday. “The recreational use of cannabis is currently legal in 10 states, New Jersey soon to be the 11th, with those to be included in the 22 states that have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana. In 2018 we saw the first state (Vermont) legalize marijuana for adult use through the legislative process, while another 20 state legislatures considered similar bills.”
The two state representatives weighed in on why they had introduced the proposal.
“With bipartisan efforts in criminal justice reform reaching new levels this year, it is the right time for Florida to start having a real conversation about legalizing marijuana for adult use,” Grieco said. “It’s coming one way or another, either by a 2020/2022 ballot measure or from us here in the legislature. Rep. Smith and I worked tirelessly to try to get the bill language perfect to ensure access, protect local decision making and create a revenue-generating structure for the state. Colorado has collected over one billion dollars in taxes from marijuana sales since 2014, so imagine what bigger, sunnier Florida could do.”
“Continuing to criminalize responsible adult use of cannabis just doesn’t make any sense. There’s no reason cannabis can’t be regulated in ways similar to alcohol. No one is dying from cannabis overdoses but they are getting arrested and being given criminal records for no good reason. A majority of Floridians support legalizing adult use cannabis so let’s do this already,” Smith said.
The bill "exempts certain activities involving marijuana from use and possession offenses; authorizes persons age 21 and over to engage in certain activities involving personal use of marijuana in limited amounts; provides for licensure of marijuana establishments that may engage in manufacture or sell of marijuana, marijuana products and marijuana accessories; provides for limits on number of retail marijuana stores in localities; provides standards for prospective licensees and restrictions on location of marijuana establishments; authorizes localities to prohibit one or more types of marijuana establishments; provides an exemption from specified provisions for marijuana research.”