ORLANDO, Fla. (WESH/WFLA) – A Central Florida lawmaker has introduced legislation aimed at legalizing recreational marijuana in Florida.
Orlando Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith and Pinellas County Sen. Jeff Brandes this week introduced HB 343 and SB 710 which would legalize recreational marijuana in Florida.
The bills would “establish a robust and free-market regulatory approach to the governance of cultivation, processing, and retail sales of both medical and adult-use marijuana.”
The legislation would allow people 21 and older to purchase and use limited amounts of marijuana without a medical marijuana card.
Both lawmakers have introduced similar legislation in the past.
“It’s a personal liberty issue for me,” Sen. Brandes told 8 On Your Side. “It’s really a question of when adult use is going to be legal,” Brandes added.
In a tweet Friday, Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried shared three reasons she supports the legalization legislation. She says it would strengthen the economy, start to right wrongs in the justice system and be a source of new state revenue.
““I think it will generate additional revenue for the state,” Sen. Brandes said. “But it will help in a variety of ways. It’s not just the revenue that comes in. It’s also the fact that your law enforcement is now focusing on more serious crimes than trying to find somebody who is walking around with a joint in their pocket.”
The bill would allow adults to purchase 2.5 ounces of cannabis or a product with up to 2 grams of THC.
Smoking marijuana in public would remain illegal.
“The need to end Florida’s prohibition of responsible adult use of cannabis is long overdue. This bill creates a sensible bipartisan framework for legalization that can earn the support needed to pass the Florida legislature. It doesn’t include everything I’d like to see, but it’s the fresh start Floridians deserve to finally move past the draconian cannabis prohibition era,” Guillermo Smith said.