Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on Thursday that he intends to end the state’s prohibition on smokeable medical marijuana, FOX 35 Orlando reports.
“I’m announcing today is the lawsuit that’s challenging the smoking ban, we’re going to be filing a stay of decision on that till mid-March,” he declared.
DeSantis noted that this step was necessary in order to implement the will of the 71% of Florida voters who backed legalization of medical marijuana in the 2016 ballot initiative on the matter, and that patients using medical marijuana should be free to choose the form of the drug which they consume.
“This thing should have been implemented, we should have moved on, and I don’t want to continue fighting some of these old battles,” he said. “I think we’re going to see something by mid-March so either the legislature will reform the new law, [have] written a new law a law that’s consistent with the amendment calls for, or we’re [going to] dismiss the lawsuit.”
DeSantis’s decision represents a stark contrast with that of his predecessor as Governor, now-Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL), a strong advocate of prohibiting medical marijuana. However, DeSantis’s stance received support from legalization advocates within the Republican Party.
“I was the principal architect of our state’s medical marijuana laws and I am here to confess that those laws need to change,” said Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL).
Gaetz is a member of the libertarian-leaning Freedom Caucus, which DeSantis co-founded while he served in Congress. As Governor, DeSantis appears to be continuing his libertarian streak at the state level.