Miami mayor Francis Suarez, a vocal advocate of marijuana reform, is throwing his hat in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. Suarez is making clear that he believes the federal government must join the many states that have already moved to legalize the use of marijuana. However, his record as mayor of Miami on this issue has been less than progressive, raising questions about the sincerity of his current stance. In this article, we’ll take a look at what Suarez has to say, and what his stance and record as mayor tell us about his opinion on marijuana reform.
1. Francis Suarez On Federal Marijuana Policies
Francis Suarez, the mayor of Miami, is making waves in the political arena with his dissenting opinion on federal marijuana policies. As an elected official, Suarez believes the government needs to reform the outmoded view of marijuana and consider its possible medical advantages.
In an op-ed, Suarez detailed his arguments for why the government should make changes to marijuana legalization. According to the mayor, three developments particularly influenced his views:
- Comprehensive studies have shown the therapeutic use of cannabis can help individuals suffering from various illnesses.
- The majority of states have adopted relaxed marijuana regulations.
- Pope Francis, a prominent religious leader, has highlighted the medicinal and healing benefits of marijuana.
With these points in mind, Suarez urged the federal government to move towards a more enlightened, progressive stance on cannabis and its potential medicinal benefits. In the meantime, he stands with those calling for greater marijuana reform and the revision of existing laws.
2. Miami Mayor’s Complex Record on Cannabis
Since taking office, Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has held a complex and somewhat contradictory stance on the use of cannabis. His stance is evidenced in the Mayor’s three core positions on cannabis reform.
- He has publicly declared support for the current decriminalization of marijuana. These laws, passed in 2020, forbid city police from arresting or penalizing people found in possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis or cannabis paraphernalia.
- He does not, however, support a full legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Although many in the city see it as an opportunity to boost the local economy and loosen the grip of drug cartels on the communities of Miami, Mayor Suarez stands firm on his resolve that legalizing the drug might incite new drug-related problems for the city.
- Finally, he is an avid supporter of medicinal marijuana. Believing that the power of cannabis as a medicinal aid has been long undervalued, Mayor Suarez is firmly committed to making medicinal marijuana more readily available and accessible to Miami residents.
Mayor Suarez’s position on cannabis has been met with considerable divisiveness throughout the city. While some view the Mayor’s stance on the matter as wise and well thought out – a position which seeks to respect and balance the will of the people with the safety of the city – others find it overly conservative and restrictive, aiding rather than fighting the stigma still surrounding marijuana use.
3. Suarez Urges Feds to “Catch Up” on Weed Legality
Rep. Joe Suarez, a staunch advocate on the legalization of marijuana, sent an open letter to lawmakers this past Tuesday evening, urging federal governmental officials to act on the move towards legalizing weed. He is the latest in a growing caucus of state lawmakers who are uninhibited when it comes to speaking up on such thinly-veiled but important topics.
In the letter, Suarez listed five points on behalf of the push towards marijuana legalization. These included:
- Opening research opportunities, as current regulations unfairly restrict the type of studies needed to analyze the potential risks, side effects, and benefits of marijuana.
- Ending the criminalization and enforcing justice reform, as criminalization disproportionately affects certain demographics and perpetuates inequality.
- Providing equitable access, as access should not be based on age, race, or income.
- Eliminating cannabis from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, so that it can be regulated the same as other consumer products.
- Establishing federal tax policy, so that states can reap the financial benefits from such legalization efforts.
Suarez finished his letter by confidently stating that these actions must be taken if progress is to be made. Given the current state of the industry, with certain states allowing for the legal purchase of marijuana while other states remain behind the ball, the issues become increasingly important.
4. Weed Revelations Brewing Ahead of Presidential Election?
As the 2020 presidential election draws closer, there is a much wider discussion over broader issues and policy goals, marijuana dispensaries are preparing for potential change in federal government policy. Whether or not the next president will adjust the current stance on marijuana activity remains to be seen, but for now the marijuana industry is bracing itself for what lies ahead:
- Recreational vs. Medical Use: For starters, will the new president embrace state-wide recreational use of marijuana, or will medical classifications remain in place? How far will this regulation go and how would it affect the marijuana industry?
- Drug Status: Will marijuana remain classified as an illegal substance by the federal government? How will individual states respond to a potential change in drug status?
- Research Restrictions: How might the federal government change its stance on medical research and the use of marijuana in medicine? How will federal grants and tax incentives be impacted?
With more states continuing to legalize marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the potential implications of a new president’s approach to the drug could result in a significant shift across the marijuana industry. As a result, it will be important for marijuana dispensaries to pay close attention to the election results so that they can determine the best course of action moving forward.
For the American public, it’s clear that Miami Mayor Francis Suarez is taking an unambiguous stance on federal marijuana policies: catch up with what’s already happening at the state and local level. How his views may influence the current presidential race remains to be seen, but the mayor’s passion for cannabis reform is certainly unwavering.