Ron DeSantis questions ‘pretext’ behind Florida medical marijuana law

DeSantis Iowa
The Governor questions how legitimate the medical necessity is for at least some patients.

In Iowa, Ron DeSantis disparaged his home state’s more than 850,000 medical marijuana patients, suggesting at least some were just using the program as a “pretext” for recreational enjoyment.

In response to a question about Florida’s vertical integration scheme, the Florida Governor told supporters in Dubuque.

“Look there was, you know, how much of that is medicinal versus how much of it is, ‘That’s the pretext for it’? I don’t know, but it is in our constitution,” DeSantis said, noting that Florida’s program was approved by a constitutional amendment in 2016.

DeSantis also suggested he was opposed to vertical integration as a matter of principle, saying “as a general matter with programs, you want there to be open field and competition that’s going to make it better for consumers and that will make it better for taxpayers.”

The exchange between DeSantis and an audience member was timely, given a widely-touted CNN piece that charged the Governor with not “draining the swamp” of Florida’s cannabis market, instead accepting support from the same industry he had called a “cartel” early in his first term.

DeSantis has been all over the place rhetorically during not just this campaign but his political career when it comes to cannabis. In Iowa this summer, he said he opposed legalization because “they can throw fentanyl in” to the product. He didn’t clarify how that would happen in a dispensary, and there has yet to be a single case of fentanyl-adulterated marijuana from any dispensary in Florida since the program’s inception.

“We have medical in our Constitution, we have medical marijuana, we enforce that, you know, we abide by it, but to take action now to make it even more available, I would not do that,” DeSantis said, adding that legalization in Colorado has only expanded the “black market.”

Early in his first term in office, DeSantis pleased reformers when he came out against the Rick Scott-era opposition to cannabis that could be smoked. Previously, loose flower was not available, with only vaporizer cups for sale at dispensaries.

“I look at someone who has Lou Gehrig’s disease or terminal cancer or multiple sclerosis. … I think the Florida voters who voted for that wanted them to have access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician. Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?” DeSantis said. “I want people to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

However, the Governor took a harder line against marijuana in recent years.

“If you look at some of the stuff that’s now coming down, there’s a lot of really bad things in it. It’s not necessarily what you would’ve had 30 years ago when someone’s in college and they’re doing something. You have some really, really bad stuff in there, so I think having the ability to identify that, I think, that’s safety, and quite frankly when you get into some of that stuff, it’s not medicinal at that point for sure,” DeSantis said, in response to a reporter’s question in 2021.

In 2022, the Governor took an even harder line position against so-called “recreational” use.

“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,” he told reporters. “I could not believe the pungent odor that you would see in some of these places. I don’t want to see that here. I want people to be able to breathe freely.”

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


  • Julia

    December 20, 2023 at 6:14 pm

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  • Elmo

    December 20, 2023 at 7:28 pm

    The state of Florida is anything but free.

    • Anthony Dixon

      December 21, 2023 at 9:03 am


  • MH/Duuuval

    December 20, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    Damn, no kidding — Dee is hip to the grift! People who want to smoke weed and not be subject to arrest or job loss, are willing to pay for protection. It’s a state-sponsored racket. (Nothing CA Dick Nixon liked better than to make life difficult for the unkempt minds who smoked herb.)

  • Sonja Fitch

    December 21, 2023 at 4:42 am

    As a person that never ever smoked cigarettes or marijuana, the cbd lotions have helped heal my joints affected by rheumatoid! Sorry I didn’t know this sooner! Stfu Desantis!

  • FreedomForAll

    December 21, 2023 at 6:29 am

    It might benefit DeSantis to give it a try. He might relax enough to ease the stick that seems to be stuck in his backside. Of course, given the typical politician pattern, he who yells the loudest is probably the most guilty. Ala, Brigette and Christian Ziegler. Maybe DeSantis smokes a big doob every night.

    • Dont Say FLA

      December 21, 2023 at 7:25 am

      Maybe Rhonda did try it and that is where the picture of him smiling a genuine looking smile came from.

      But Rhonda must have liked it a little too much and now he’s all worried he will lose control and end up on Fentanyl because that is what it says in the Bible.

    • Ron Forrest Ron

      December 22, 2023 at 7:51 am

      They smoke a doob every night, and they smoke a big pole too. Just for Christmas, of course. They smoke a Christmas pole. (Not a purpley flesh pole, ya buncha pervs!)

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 23, 2023 at 10:05 pm

      Many parents quit smoking pot when the kids are born, out of an excess of caution.
      There is no evidence that clean-living Dee ever smoked: He saved his temple for what is important.

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 21, 2023 at 7:23 am

    Rhonda goes to Iowa seeking votes.

    Rhonda opens mouth, complains out loud about nearly a million Floridians who regularly escape their miserable lives by getting high.

    Rhonda just ain’t that bright, Izzy.

  • Mark miller

    December 21, 2023 at 7:25 am

    Well I spent the money to get a medical card and use it to help sleep instead of having rods and screws put on my spine that is slowly deteriorating. Paid the fees and this dufussantis wants to mess with it. What about people worse than me that it helps? Yes 90 % republicans are Hippocrates.

  • stinking DeSantos

    December 21, 2023 at 7:35 am

    My Bible says that God put all plants on Earth for humans to benefit from. One would think that someone who professes to be a Christian would be in favor of allowing folks to grow, smoke, eat or make ointments out of hemp. On the other hand, my Bible is silent about a woman’s personal medical decision to terminate a pregnancy, yet our Governor invoked religion as a basis for denying a woman’s right to choose. Funny thing our Governor’s expression of religion. As if a true leader would base his official actions on his personal aversion to a particular odor. He doesn’t care about personal liberty and freedom but only cares about himself. I smell a skunk.

    • Ron Forrest Ron

      December 23, 2023 at 10:52 am

      Politicians that brag about their Christianity are liars and manipulators.

      Politicians who keep their religion private, they’re the ones that are, potentially, legit religious.

      If you just plain flat want a Christian in the Oval Office, the choice is clearly Joe Biden.

      Catholic, yes, but despite what the Baptist preacher says, Catholicism is, in fact, Christian.

      The Catholic book of fairy tales is exactly the same as the Baptist one.

  • Josh Green

    December 21, 2023 at 4:07 pm

    “The Free State of Florida” ladies and gentlemen.

  • Biscuit

    December 21, 2023 at 4:29 pm

    NewsItch out of Iowa: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis endeared himself to no one by casting aspersions on Floridians who he suspects of enjoying legal medical marijuana. One butt-scratching GOP voter asked his wife, “Ain’t he from there?” to which she replied, “You wouldn’t think so, would you,” and, “Stop scratching your butt.”
    Not sure what the problem with the butt-scratching was.

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 23, 2023 at 10:09 pm

      Now, Biscuit, you know very well what is up with the butt scratching.


  • My Take

    December 22, 2023 at 12:54 am

    I’ve only very rarely needed opium-derived medicines, but I’m very glad they were there.
    That someone else may abuse them was immaterial.

  • MeatHead

    December 22, 2023 at 8:07 am

    How in the hell would he know? Ever since he started the Fauci wars while behinf the scenes made millions off his brother in law who sold the state regeneron – why wouldn’t he not go after a product that allows people who served fighting PTSD use of a proven way to relieve the symptoms.

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 23, 2023 at 10:11 pm

      Brother in law — who dat?

  • Private Prisons

    December 23, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Rec marijuana, legal in states with state-run prisons.

    Not legal in G0P run states with their privately owned and operated prisons.

    Gee, why’s that. I wonder.

    Oh, the privately owned and operated prisons have owners, and those owners demand prisoners because prisoners mean profits.

    Rhonda, your slip is showing. Again.

    • MH/Duuuval

      December 23, 2023 at 10:14 pm

      Apparently Florida’s low-paid, overworked, and frequently soaked-in-sweat prison guards will bring in whatever inmates can pay for, including weed.

Comments are closed.


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