Ron DeSantis continues to position himself as a drug warrior on the issue of marijuana on the presidential campaign trail.
During an interview on The Big Show on KCPS, the Governor pointed to Colorado as an illustration of how legalized cannabis in that early adopter state didn’t destroy the illegal market for the product.
“You know, they’ve talked about, ‘Hey, if it was just legal, wouldn’t that put everyone out of business?’ It’s interesting. There have been states like Colorado who’ve done things like legalized marijuana and the argument was, well, you want to have a black market? It will be above board, taxed and all that stuff, yet Colorado has a bigger black market of marijuana since they’ve legalized it,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis has made anti-cannabis positions a staple of most of his term as Governor, with the exception of relenting and allowing flower to be sold. Last month on the trail, he suggested that patients in Florida’s Medical Marijuana Program use medical conditions as a “pretext” for getting high.
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 made similar arguments during Friday’s radio hit.
“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.”
Florida voters may get to decide if they want non-medical adult use marijuana in 2024, and to that end, Republican legislators are mobilizing. One new bill (HB 1269) proposes a THC cap of 10% for Delta 8 and Delta 9 to go into effect 30 days after the amendment passes, if it makes the ballot this November.