Weighing in on adult-use marijuana legalization in Florida, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis seemed to oppose penalties for possession at a campaign event in Tallahassee on Jan. 26:
“I’ve never thought that somebody who was caught using it… we’re not going to use the prison system for that,” he told the media. “But that’s different than kind of wanting it to be prevalent like you see in some of these other areas.”
But what really bugs DeSantis about pot? "It smells so putrid," he added. "I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places. I don’t want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely.”
If advocates were able to get a legalization initiative on the 2022 or 2024 ballots or if the legislature passed a bill, DeSantis would likely stand in the way. In the past, he's promised to veto any such bill.
To Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, the smell of burning cannabis is "putrid."
The one-term governor is running for reelection in November. His Democratic competition is former governor and current U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, current Agriculture Commisioner Nikki Fried and state Sen. Annette Taddeo.
Several efforts to get a measure on the 2022 ballot have failed. Last April, the state Supreme Court blocked Make it Legal Florida's proposed Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiatiive, calling it "misleading."
The Florida Marijuana Use and Growth Legalization Initiative will attempt to get on the 2024 ballot.
State Rep. Yvonne Hinson (D-Gainesville) has sponsored legalization legislation (HB 291) that Rep. Andrew Learned (D-Tampa) says "isn’t going anywhere" in this year's legislature. Last year, it died in the Regulatory Reform Subcommittee.
DeSantis was one of Donald Trump's biggest supporters during the 2020 campaign. However, he's reportedly considering a run against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024.