Tallahassee (WTFF) – Two bills have been filed that would essentially make marijuana legal in Florida for adults over 21 years of age.
HB 1117 and SB 1780, the matching “Adult Use Marijuana Legalization” bills in the House and Senate, lay down a ton of ground work, and succinctly detail a complete route towards the decriminalization of cannabis products, for personal use and in business.
The bills are very thorough and reference a whirlwind of 24 statutes that are intricately connected to and affected by archaic anti-cannabis laws.
Here’s a breakdown of what the new law would do, if implemented as it’s written now.
Reclaims the “M-word”
These bills reclaim “the M-word,” proudly calling cannabis “marijuana.”
The word “marijuana,” sometimes spelled “marihuana,” was used by Harry Anslinger in the 1930s to associate cannabis with Mexicans. (CBS News)
Racist Americans took the bait and rolled with it, ignoring all factual evidence indicating that cannabis was harmless and in fact helpful.
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”Harry Anslinger
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”Harry Anslinger
The racist rhetoric was used to implement The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which criminalized cannabis and essentially manufactured a drug war that continues today.
The anti-marihuana law of 1937 was largely the federal government’s response to political pressure from enforcement agencies and other alarmed groups who feared the use and spread of marihuana by “Mexicans.”
The media helped Anslinger by spreading propaganda. One newspaper wrote: “After an exhaustive research on marijuana from its earliest history to the present time, this drug is in our judgment the one that must be eliminated entirely.” Their evidence was nothing but quotations from the most hysterical series of newspaper articles to appear at that time, and reports of the number of “marijuana addicts” to be found in the prison population. (DrugLibrary.org)
“Studies” on dogs were performed to “prove” that marijuana was harmful, providing preposterous “evidence” to claim that “[c]ontinuous use will tend to cause the degeneration of one part of the brain,” even though the scientists admitted that “only about 1 dog in 300 is very sensitive to the test.” The doctor in charge really had no knowledge of what effect the drug had on the dogs, since he was not familiar with the psychology of dogs.
- Defines vocabulary and provides definitions and language regarding marijuana and its establishments and sales.
- Allows anyone, 21 and up, to cultivate up to 6 plants, and have up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana in their possession for use or transport.
- Establishes noncriminal penalties for violations of local policies. Seems to allow local governments to set policies that work well for their community.
Establishes Licensing and Taxes
- Sets up licensing policies and procedures for retailers.
- Establishes 15% revenue tax to go to the Division of Alcoholic Beverages, Marijuana, and Tobacco.
- Adds edible cannabis stores to the “food establishment” category.
- Slashes old laws to allow food prodcuts with marijuana to not be considered “adulterated” by the presence of cannabis.
- Links to HB 1119, which details the taxes and fees.
Prohibits Certain Use and Sales
- Prohibits sales between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.
- Prohibits smoking in public places. Generally, the same rules that currently apply to cigarettes will apply to marijuana.
Works to Erase Discrimination of Cannabis Users
- Declares that smoking marijuana “may not be the basis for a finding of a lack of good moral character…” (566.042)