Since Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis took office, he’s made it clear how he feels about medical marijuana – he is pushing to end a state ban on smokable medical marijuana.
Patients finally have a governor who supports a doctor’s recommendation on how to take their medicine.
“It was overwhelming support for it, we’ve just got to enact a statute that is going to pass constitutional muster, and I think what they did before was below the threshold,” DeSantis said.
But new leaders in the Florida legislature are still hesitant.
New House Speaker Jose Oliva of Miami-Dade says smoking marijuana is just a push toward legalizing it recreationally.
“Is one to believe that an 8-year-old child should be smoking marijuana, inhaling smoke into their lungs. I’ve been in the smoke business my entire life and I’ve never heard anyone say it’s good for you,” Olivia said.
Enter Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, the only statewide-elected Democrat and a former marijuana lobbyist who wants to protect patients’ rights. She could be just what the doctor ordered.
“Our first priority is the patients. Patients not having the ability to get all forms of medical marijuana is what’s hindering so much of the progress of these patients,” DeSantis said.
He’s asking the Legislature to repeal a provision in Florida’s law that prohibits smokable forms of the plant. If it doesn’t by mid-March, he said he will drop an appeal filed under his predecessor, now U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, that seeks to keep the ban in place.
In 2016, more than 71 percent of Florida voters approved a constitutional amendment allowing medical use of marijuana. DeSantis said the current law doesn’t reflect the will of voters and that it’s not up to him what form of marijuana patients use to treat debilitating illnesses.