Welcome to

Capitol News Service

Florida's Best Political Television Coverage

 


 


 


Recent Posts

Categories

Archives

RSS Capitol News LIVE

RSS Quote of the Day

  • Mark Twain
    "Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered - either by themselves or by others."
  • Winston Churchill
    "The price of greatness is responsibility."
  • Lucius Annaeus Seneca
    "Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for a kindness."
  • Maya Angelou
    "If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded."

Are Lawmakers Hearing Both Sides of the Recreational Marijuana Debate?

December 11th, 2019 by Jake Stofan

With the possibility of legalizing recreational marijuana appearing on the 2020 ballot, the Florida House Health Quality Subcommittee continued hearings on the potential consequences of legalizing cannabis Wednesday.

Pro-legalization advocates have raised concerns that lawmakers have focused too much on the negatives and given little time to the positives.

Members heard from economics professor Dr. Rosalie Pacula with the University of Souther California.

She cautioned of regulatory mistakes made by previous state’s that have legalized.
“States cannot regulate cannabis like alcohol or tobacco,” said Pacula.

Colorado DEA Agent Ray Padilla took aim at a number of claims made by pro-legalization advocates.

“I have never been busier when it comes to marijuana and organized crime in our state,” said Padilla.

And a drug testing lab, which suggested its research shows employees have steadily been increasing marijuana use over the past decade.

“There’s been a 70 percent higher self reported use of marijuana among those respondents not subject to employer drug testing,” said Dr. Barry Sample with Quest Diagnostics.

Through multiple hearings witnesses called by lawmakers have been primarily against legalization, prompting concerns from marijuana advocates that lawmakers may try to water down recreational marijuana, if voters were to approve it.

“There certainly needs to be some time spent on talking about what the benefits potentially could be, particularly if 70 plus percent of the population thinks it’s a good idea,” said Jeff Sharkey with the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida.

Committee Chair Rep. Colleen Burton said lawmakers intend to carry out the will of the people, should legalization pass.

“That’s why we’re having these meetings so that if it does pass we’re not starting from square one so to speak,” said Burton.

But advocates like Melissa Villar with NORML Tallahassee point to lawmakers’ intense pushback when voters approved medical marijuana in 2017, including an initial ban on smokable cannabis and a restrictive business model.

“They implemented a vertical integrative structure and had a selection of ten companies. So it was highly selective,” said Villar.

The leading recreational ballot initiative still needs slightly over 600,000 more signatures by February to secure a place on next year’s ballot.

Rep. Burton did note if the legalization amendment were to pass, it would provide another opportunity for additional hearings that would include testimony from a wide array of advocates.

Posted in State News | No Comments »

Comments are closed.

copyright © 2016 by Capitol News Service | Powered by Wordpress | Hosted by LyonsHost.com