Florida Republican Party officially opposes ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana

DeSantis has repeatedly said legalizing recreational cannabis will result in the entire state to 'start to smell like marijuana'

click to enlarge Florida Republican Party officially opposes ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana
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The Republican Party of Florida has officially decided that it will oppose Amendment 3, the constitutional amendment on the November ballot that would legalize recreational cannabis for adults 21 years and older.

The move came from a vote from the Republican Party of Florida’s Executive Board at its quarterly meeting in Orlando, according to RPOF Vice Chair Jesse Phillips.

“Floridians are confident that their legislature has been passing laws that reflect the priorities of our state,” said RPOF Chair Evan Power in a statement released on Monday. “Amendments 3 and 4 are unnecessary attempts by an increasingly shrinking minority who know the only way to win support for their radical agenda is to confuse and mislead the electorate.”

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Smart and Safe Florida, the organized campaign working to get Amendment 3 approved, dismissed the GOP’s announcement.

“The decision to authorize the use of adult-use cannabis will be made by the citizens of Florida at the ballot box — not at a gathering of political insiders. Amendment 3 has wide bipartisan support because Floridians know legalization means accountability, transparency and safety,” said Smart and Safe communications director Morgan Hill.

“Smart & Safe Florida is committed to safe access to cannabis products while empowering the legislature to enact comprehensive regulations, spanning from cultivation to consumption, including where people may or may not smoke in public. Such protections are customary with the implementation of any policy in our state regardless of industry.”

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis indicated last week that he was prepared to use the power of his bully pulpit to lobby against both the adult cannabis and the abortion rights constitutional amendments that voters will weigh in on later this year.

“My view is both ‘no’ on both of those,” the governor said last Tuesday at a bill ceremony in Tampa. “We’ll be getting involved in different ways I think across those initiatives.”

DeSantis has not been hesitant in slamming the idea of Florida legalizing recreational cannabis, repeatedly saying that it will result in the entire state to “start to smell like marijuana.”

And like some other Florida Republican officials who have spoken about the issue, DeSantis maintains that because Florida already has a robust medical marijuana program — currently at 880,596 patients and the largest in the nation — there’s no good reason to legally allow more individuals to be able to consume the product in the state.

Below is the RPOF Executive Board’s recommendations on all six constitutional amendments on the ballot on Nov. 5 in Florida.

A YES vote on Amendment 1, Partisan Election of School Boards

A YES vote on Amendment 2, Right to Fish and Hunt

A NO vote on Amendment 3, Adult Personal Use of Marijuana

A NO vote on Amendment 4, Abortion Amendment

A YES vote on Amendment 5, adjustment to homestead

A YES vote on Amendment 6, repealing campaign finance

Florida Phoenix is part of States Newsroom, a nonprofit news network supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Florida Phoenix maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Diane Rado for questions: [email protected]. Follow Florida Phoenix on Facebook and Twitter.

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