Marijuana legalization dead in Legislature for another year
Bills to cap pot potency were stamped out. Image via AP.

marijuana 2
Sen. Victor Torres' adult use bill never got a hearing.

Another year has come and gone, with a cannabis legalization bill dead on the vine in the Legislature.

Sen. Victor Torres’ measure (SB 1576) would have made adult use cannabis legal for those at least 21 years old, establishing a so-called “Division of Cannabis Management” in the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to regulate the herb, including in concentrated and other derivative forms.

Possession limits would have been capped at 2.5 ounces per user and six marijuana plants, meaning that home cultivation would be allowed in the unlikely event this bill becomes law. Usage would be allowed in a “non-public place,” and violators would be subject to a $100 fine. Minors attempting to buy cannabis would be subject to a series of progressive fines, with the third offense being a $600 hit.

The bill also contemplated consumption establishments, where smoking — but not vaping — would be allowed, as would the “ingestion” of marijuana via “prepared food.” That food could have been taken off premises provided the packaging denotes that it contains THC. These establishments would have to have been at least 500 feet away from the doors of a public school, and would have been banned from selling product between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m.

Localities could have opted out via ordinances passed by September 2024.

Torres’ bill also contained equity provisions, including stipulating that a minority business enterprise would be given preference in a competitive application process.

There was no House companion for the bill, and now legalization advocates will have to pin their hopes on a citizen initiative for the 2024 ballot.

Smart & Safe Florida has been largely funded by Trulieve, which has donated $30.5 million to the cause already. That initiative has just over 635,000 valid signatures. It needs 891,589 to make the 2024 ballot.

The amendment push does not include homegrown cannabis, but would permit Floridians to “own, buy, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for personal, non-medical use.”

Recreational cannabis bills have been filed and failed over the years in the Legislature, with former Gov. Rick Scott and current Gov. Ron DeSantis not being marijuana fans.

“What I don’t like about it is if you go to some of these places that have done it, the stench when you’re out there, I mean, it smells so putrid,” DeSantis has said. “I want people to be able to breathe freely.”

At least for one more year, the Governor will get his wish.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Brian Kelly

    April 17, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    It’s time for us, the majority of The People to take back control of our national cannabis policy. By voting OUT of office any and all politicians who very publicly and vocally admit to having an anti-cannabis, prohibitionist agenda! Time to vote’em all OUT of office. Period. Plain and simple.

    Politicians who continue to demonize Cannabis, Corrupt Law Enforcement Officials who prefer to ruin peoples lives over Cannabis possession rather than solve real crimes who fund their departments toys and salaries with monies acquired through cannabis home raids, seizures and forfeitures, and so-called “Addiction Specialists” who make their income off of the judicial misfortunes of our citizens who choose cannabis, – Your actions go against The Will of The People and Your Days In Office Are Numbered! Find new careers before you don’t have one.

    The People have spoken! Get on-board with Cannabis Legalization Nationwide, or be left behind and find new careers. Your choice.

  • Mr. Haney

    April 19, 2023 at 7:55 am

    Republicans are Florida’s biggest problem.

  • Toni

    April 22, 2023 at 1:30 am

    The cost of communism far outweighs the cost of not having cannabis available recreationally so, NO! Although most (not all) republicans are against recreational cannabis in Florida the real problem has been the cannabis industry lobbyists that have introduced initiatives that do not include home grow when we had an initiative all along that does. RegulateFlorida has been T-Boned by these so called cannabis initiatives that are just lobbyists with the cannabis industry’s interests in mind.
    FREE THE PLANT! Do not introduce more legislation to control it, it should be only to keep it from minors. Without home grow in the law it will always be controlled by the greedy cannabis “marketers”

  • Richard Streng

    May 1, 2023 at 1:02 pm

    Frustrated…I’m trying very hard to get signatures for the cannabis Ballot in 2024 and bring them to the Trulieve Store in Port Orange Fla where I live. So far, I’ve managed to get about 10 people in my neighborhood to sign up.
    Problem is, everytime I bring them to the store, the ‘kids’ working there have absolutely no idea what I’m bringing in. they can’t even find the folder where their kept in the lobby. I have 27,000 shares of your stock worth 20% of its original value… and it seems like the employees could care less. Yea, I’m FRUSTRATED…

Comments are closed.


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