Two bills introduced in Florida would authorize marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol, legalizing the plant, and effectively nullifying the federal prohibition on the same.
Senate Bill 1176 (S.1176) and House Bill 1297 (H.1297), introduced Sen. Dwight Bullard and Rep. Randolph Bracy, respectively, would make Florida the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes through the legislature rather than the popular vote should either pass into law.
The bills would allow individuals aged 21 or older to do the following:
(a) Use, possess, or transport marijuana accessories and up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana.
(b) Transfer or furnish, without remuneration, up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana and up to 6 seedlings to a person who is 21 years of age or older.
(c) Possess, grow, cultivate, process, or transport up to 6 marijuana plants, including seedlings, and possess the marijuana produced by the marijuana plants on the premises where the plants were grown.
(d) Purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, up to 6 seedlings, and marijuana accessories from a retail marijuana store.
Under the legislation, prospective marijuana retailers would need to apply for licenses through the state, which could cost up to $5000. Marijuana retail operations would not be allowed within 500 feet of an existing school building. If passed, the act would take effect by July 1, 2016. Persons who possess marijuana in manners not outlined specifically in the bills would still be subject to civil and criminal penalties.
Bills like S.1176 and H.1297 are sweeping the nation, and for good reason. Reforms like these can affect federal policy while circumventing the Washington D.C. power structure completely. The best thing about measures such as S.1176 and H.1297 is that they are completely lawful and Constitutional, and there is little if anything the feds can do to stop them!
Congress and the president claim the constitutional authority to ban marijuana. The Supreme Court concurs. However, nearly two-dozen states have taken steps to put the well-being of their citizens above the so-called federal supremacy by legalizing marijuana to varying degrees anyway.
“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully effectively reject unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.
The momentum is on our side, but Florida cannot legalize it without your help. These efforts need your support to achieve victory. S.1176 is currently in the Regulated Industries Committee while H.1297 has yet to receive a committee assignment. Both bills must pass through their committee assignments successfully before they can receive full votes in their respective chambers.