Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has once again made it clear where he stands on the marijuana legalization debate: firmly opposed. Despite Colorado’s positive track record since legalizing marijuana and the predicted economic boon that Florida could enjoy if it followed suit, DeSantis remains resolute in his opposition, claiming that the state’s current illicit market for marijuana is “bigger and more lucrative” than before legalization. It seems as though Florida is far from joining the revolutionary national movement to fully legalize marijuana.
1. Governor’s Continued Stand Against Marijuana: DeSantis Doubles Down
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis Remains Committed to Cannabis Prohibition
Though Florida was the first state to legalize medical cannabis in the country, Governor Ron DeSantis has stayed firm on his stand against marijuana, and that stance hasn’t changed. The governor recently threw his support behind a ban on smokable marijuana, and now he’s calling for the regulation of medical cannabis back at the state level.
Though the medical cannabis community has been taken aback by DeSantis’ staunch stance, they may find hope in the fact that the governor has so far not supported any federal intervention against state-level marijuana reform. The attorney general’s prosecutorial discretion has thus far prevented federal enforcement against marijuana possession and cultivation in states where it is legal.
Despite this sign of hope, the governor’s confirmation of the state’s continued ban on recreational marijuana speaks to his strong stance on the matter. DeSantis has also stood against hemp and CBD legislation, despite the growing support from the majority of his constituents. It appears that the governor is determined to keep cannabis illegal, no matter what.
2. Colorado’s Illicit Market Flourishes Despite Legalization
With the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2014, the estimated drop in black-market marijuana sales had not been as anticipated. From 2016 to 2018, Colorado saw an increase in seizures of illegal marijuana by law enforcement, suggesting illicit marijuana transactions are still thriving. The Competition for Colorado’s legal eradicated criminal markets, yet there are still significant repercussions for those caught dealing on the drug’s illegal side.
Since 2016, Denver police have seized around four and a half tons of black market marijuana in various raids. Yet it’s not just Colorado law enforcement tackling the issue – DEA registered confiscations of illegally grown cannabis went up by 5% between 2016 and 2018, while legal cannabis sales increased drastically during the same time. The illicit market can be attributed to its competitive prices, convenience, and lack of taxation.
- Competitive prices. Illicit marijuana can cost close to two third less than its legal counterpart.
- Convenience. It’s much easier to purchase the illegal product than to go through the legal channels.
- Lack of taxation. Unscrupulous dealers can offer prices that may include no state taxes.
3. Questioning the Effectiveness of Reform
At the same time, reform efforts are highly contested. Many believe that they require too much time to produce results, while executives often struggle to successfully implement them. It’s often hard to tell if this is due to the reform itself, or to other outside influences.
The effectiveness of reforms can often be evaluated using a variety of methods, including looking at data, surveys, interviews, and other metrics. However, the efficacy of these measures are subject to debate. Questions are raised about the validity of the methods used, and the accuracy of the results they yield.
- Data Analysis: examining the impact of a reform on performance metrics
- Surveys: asking directly for feedback on the reform and its implementation
- Interviews: talking to management and employees about how the reform affects their work
Ultimately, it takes a critical eye to weigh the evidence and come to a valid conclusion. It’s important to understand exactly why a reform works or doesn’t work in order to assess its potential for success.
4. Consumer Safety at the Forefront of DeSantis’ Stance Against Legalization
Since his gubernatorial campaign, Brian DeSantis has been staunch in his opposition to any legislation that legalizes recreational marijuana in the state of Florida. At the core of his hesitance to support such laws is his desire to safeguard the health rights and safety of the state’s citizens.
DeSantis believes the present framework of criminal penalties and court system is the most effective way to ensure strict regulation of marijuana while simultaneously preserving the overall well-being of the populace. To this end, he has established mechanisms to regulate the manufacturing, sale, and distribution of medical cannabis, but has publicly stated his reservations about broadening these policies to commercial or recreational marijuana.
In outlining his stance, DeSantis has also highlighted the potential public health and safety concerns associated with the recreational usage of marijuana:
- Impaired Judgement.DeSantis is concerned that increased recreational usage will correlate with a higher rate of impaired judgement instances in motorists.
- Diversion. He is also worried that the legalization of recreational marijuana has the potential to disrupt existing drug prevention efforts, with the drug being diverted to users other than those for whom it is intended.
- Teen Usage.Finally, DeSantis is wary that the legalization of recreational marijuana may lead to an increase in usage among teenagers.
All in all, it cannot be denied that consumer safety plays a fundamental role in DeSantis’ opposition to the legalization of recreational marijuana in the state of Florida.
Though the debate over marijuana legalization rages on, Florida Governor DeSantis appears to have made his position quite clear: until the black market is contained or poorly regulated recreational cannabis markets are brought to heel, he will continue to oppose efforts to make the drug legal. For now, the millions of people who advocate for nationwide cannabis reform may need to wait – for however long it takes DeSantis to be convinced.