At a press conference on Monday, Florida Gov. Rick DeSantis (R) said his administration will be moving medical cannabis laws forward in 2019, in particular ending the previous governor’s ban on smoking cannabis, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
Florida’s medical cannabis program was created following a landslide ballot initiative in 2016 but has faced — in Gov. DeSantis’ own words — heavy “foot-dragging” by state officials. One particularly contentious piece of litigation, a ban on smoking cannabis products established in 2017, was not included in the voter-approved initiative and many patients felt like their votes were being overruled when officials enacted the ban. Voters were also upset by a limit set in 2017 on the number of cannabis licenses that would be issued.
A lawsuit brought against the smoking ban was upheld by a judge, who ruled that the smoking ban was against the state constitution. Previous Gov. Rick Scott appealed the decision but final judgment wasn’t passed by the time he left office. Now, Gov. DeSantis told reporters that the appeal will be dropped and that he intends to return to the original spirit of the law passed by voters in 2016.
“I think a lot of voters were frustrated that they don’t think that it has been. They think there’s been a lot of foot-dragging. So my job is, when the people speak, you have to listen. This was not an amendment that was really that close. It was like 72 percent.” — Gov. Rick DeSantis, via the Pensacola News Journal
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