Ron DeSantis re-ups warnings about legal weed in schools, restaurants

DeSantis AP
The Governor warns that people could hold up to 50 joints at once, and says they could consume with impunity.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is continuing to make the case that legalized recreational marijuana would do what Florida’s medical market has not, and create a pungent wave of olfactory assaults in all public spaces.

“If you read that actual text of the Constitution that will go in it says there can be no penalty, criminal, civil or otherwise for smoking or possessing up to 3 ounces of pot, which is about 40 to 50 joints. Some law enforcement say more,” DeSantis said of the Adult Personal Use of Marijuana citizen initiative on November’s ballot.

Though the Legislature would be permitted to enact laws consistent with the amendment, including permitting recreational-use dispensaries to compete with the medical companies in the Florida market, DeSantis asserts that process wouldn’t offer usage restrictions.

“So that means, like, you have it in the schools, they can’t punish you,” DeSantis said. “I think it means you bring it into restaurants and use (it), and they’re not going to be able to do anything. The indoor smoking law in Florida does not apply to this. There’s no limitations in the amendment language.”

From there, DeSantis put on his constitutional lawyer hat.

He argued that “this amendment for you to be able to possess and smoke pot” is “more broad” than “the First Amendment is, than the Second Amendment is, than like core amendments that grew out of the founding of this country.”

DeSantis, who spent roughly $150 million on his failed presidential campaign this year shortly after winning re-election to his second term, ripped into the “bogus” ballot initiative process as one driven by political chicanery.

“This is why these ballot initiatives are so bogus. What you will see as a voter is not what actually gets put into the constitution. Who would vote on something that they don’t even get a chance to read? It makes no sense that you would do that.”

DeSantis said that initiative drives “draft their own summary and they try to make it as pleasant as possible.”

“They focus group the language, they poll test it, they do all this stuff to try to get voters to say it sounds good. ‘Whatever, I’ll vote yes on it.'”

As he has before, he also chided the Florida Supreme Court for a faulty review process, saying the two dissenters from the majority position were “correct” in looking to snuff out the pot push.

Florida’s Governor made the comments Tuesday at Umatilla’s Caldwell Park Community Building.

They are far from his first comments warning about the potentially pernicious impact of pot smoke on Florida’s culture.

“I think you’re going to see people, you will be able to bring 20 joints to an elementary school. Is that really going to be good for the state of Florida? I don’t think so,” DeSantis said in Tampa June 12.

During his remarks in Umatilla, DeSantis was asked about his new Freedom Fund political committee, which is designed to stop this initiative, a push to remove state government restrictions on abortion, and other issues the Governor wants to engage in.

He was coy in his remarks, noting that unnamed “stakeholders” were interested in defeating the weed push, which requires more than 60% of the push to succeed. He previously has suggested that the hemp industry, which was targeted by legislators for selling Delta 8 and other intoxicating compounds, would be on board with his anti-weed push.

At least through June 14, stakeholders from the hemp sector and other business verticals had not ponied up; the Freedom Fund account had just $10,000 in it, a fraction of the $13.2 million cash on hand in the Smart and Safe Florida political committee.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has been the Northeast Florida correspondent for Florida Politics since 2014. He writes for the New York Post and National Review also, with previous work in the American Conservative and Washington Times and a 15+ year run as a columnist in Folio Weekly. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


15 comments

  • Silly Wabbit

    June 25, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    He kwazy.

    • KellyAnn

      June 25, 2024 at 1:17 pm

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    • Elvis Pitts "LIFE COACH" American

      June 26, 2024 at 7:17 am

      Thanks Wabbit your the best,
      One of the big reasons we want to keep weed restricted is that it makes our presious kids want to experiment with way too much same sex sex and turns our young men into homertestical sissies incapable of serving in the military.
      Thank you America,
      Elvis Pitts “Life Coach” American

  • Tom

    June 25, 2024 at 1:41 pm

    He seems to have adopted that trumpian “I’ll just say any stupid crap I want and see what sticks” shtick. It would be no more legal for school age kids if legalized than it is now when they buy off their local gang banger who, just guessing here, isn’t checking ID’s. What a clown.

  • Say yes to HEMP and no to corporate greed

    June 25, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    I can’t stand the man but he’s right on this. The Florida Hemp industry is a going concern, helps everyone, and should be protected no matter what. The corporate cannabis industry is nothing but greedy corporate verticals not even from Florida which do NOT translate to public profit or wellbeing. They will steal and keep all profits, gouge the state, pay no taxes, and be completely protected by the Florida Constitution to stomp out all competition from hemp farmers and the hemp industry. It’s a stupid move by the state and will not help Floridians.. If you want medical marijuana, go get a card and you can have the good stuff. Literally anyone can get one. But if they legalize it in THIS CURRENT AMENDMENT FORMAT, with no guardrails, well, you know how this will go. Corporate greed and private profits with taxpayers picking up the check, and the home-grown hemp industry, which benefits everybody in the state, gets wiped out. Be smart, people. It needs to be better than this.

    • MH/Duuuval

      June 26, 2024 at 10:46 am

      What? We can’t have both? Industrial hemp has been around for centuries and it an excellent crop. Ditto fuma.

      • Say yes to HEMP and no to corporate greed

        June 26, 2024 at 3:55 pm

        No, this state is not smart or responsible enough to handle that kind of nuance and complexity in a fair way that benefits everyone. It’s run by corrupt bullies who pick winners and losers and don’t care about fairness or public good. Once they legalize it the corporations will take over and stomp out the hemp farmers and it will be a race to the bottom in terms of extreme profits with poor quality. Look at the reports coming out of california on legal weed –the quality is garbage and filled with toxins–miles away from the high quality and safety of medical cannabis. Anyone who wants it can have it now in Florida but they want to complain and are too lazy to go see a dr once a year and get a card. Do people not realize they can get whatever they want now? Like, Anyone? I mean crap, you can have it delivered to your house. The current system works side by side and HEMP should be expanded without restrictions–it’s a home-grown industry. Once they legalize marijuana do you actually believe those multi national corporations (many of which will be foreign owned) won’t be just one more powerful lobby and vertical that buys politicians and writes laws however it wants to stomp out competition? Do you actually believe they will be taxed appropriately, and that those funds will be reappropriated towards anything to do with public welfare, like I don’t know, feeding hungry kids, bolstering the disaster fund and shoring up Citizens instead of gouging everyone in the state? No. They will be one more 800 lb gorilla for citizens to contend with and pay for the corporate welfare, and say goodbye to the hemp industry. And those conglomerate corporations will pocket their private profits and not pay a dime. Because that’s how we Floridumb.

        • MH/Duuuval

          June 26, 2024 at 9:48 pm

          Face it: Rural interests in Florida are up against a wall of Big $$$.

          Another example is Medicaid expansion, which even the MAGA troglodytes of North Carolina embraced because it will be a reliable revenue stream for rural medical facilities and personnel that are gradually disappearing.

  • Bwj

    June 25, 2024 at 3:24 pm

    How does smoking a joint indoors ar a restaurant not fall under the no smoking ban?

    • Michael K

      June 25, 2024 at 5:38 pm

      In DeSantisland, your worst fears are just more made up stuff.

      But maybe Rhonda should smoke a joint, read a novel by a Florida writer, see some fine art, go to live theater, listen to some jazz. Florida might be a more civilized and humane place as a result.

      • MH/Duuuval

        June 25, 2024 at 10:36 pm

        More likely Dee would get too high and then paranoid, perhaps end up in an emergency room somewhere under an assumed name.

        Or, alternatively, munch down on $50 worth of McDonald’s all by himself.

    • Dr. Franklin Waters

      July 3, 2024 at 3:23 pm

      It doesn’t. But to be fair, Ron DeSantis is a f*cking moron.

  • Debra

    June 25, 2024 at 5:59 pm

    Desantis doesn’t really care about the children in Florida bc the just canceled out the SNAPS program for poor children. These kids could smoke 13 joints a day he doesn’t give a rats ass. 😤 He just wants to win. Florida was a stepping stone to become President. Floridians mean nothing to him. Women’s health means nothing to him. Suzi Wiles was lucky to get away from him and Walmart Casey.

    • Frankie M.

      June 25, 2024 at 6:42 pm

      Gotta feed red meat to the base…not that plant based junk even if all the cattle die off in a few years due to climate change. Supply & demand.

  • Bill Pollard

    June 25, 2024 at 6:25 pm

    Marijuana is legal in New York. I never saw it in restaurants when I visited New York City last month or on my visit in 2023. This argument by our gov is just a lot of smoke. You can take that as a pun if you like.

Comments are closed.


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