Desantis on hemp and cannabis bills
Desantis on hemp and cannabis bills

The Weird and Wacky Roll Governor DeSantis is Playing in Legalizing Cannabis and Intoxicating Hemp in Florida

Gov. DeSantis is a character to say the least, but does he actually know what he doing?

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Friday Jul 5, 2024

Desantis on weed

DeSantis is a weird character – Here’s why

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently vetoed a bill that would have severely restricted the sale of hemp-derived products, including those containing delta-8 and delta-9 THC which can produce intoxicating effects. The veto comes despite DeSantis' vocal opposition to a proposed constitutional amendment that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state.

In his veto message, DeSantis called the goals of the hemp bill "commendable" but said it would impose "debilitating regulatory burdens" on businesses and likely fail to achieve its intended purposes. He urged the legislature to revisit the issue next session and work with stakeholders to develop a more comprehensive regulatory framework.

DeSantis' decision to block the hemp restrictions was cheered by the hemp industry, which argued the bill would have cost thousands of jobs and millions in lost revenue. At the same time, his opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana remains firm, arguing it is not needed when the state already has hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries.

The contrasting stances highlight the complex landscape of cannabis policy in Florida. While DeSantis moves to constrain one part of the industry, he is defending another, raising questions about how he will approach these issues going forward. This article will examine the governor's record and statements on marijuana and hemp to provide a clearer understanding of his overall perspective and its potential implications.


A Deep Dive on Ron DeSantis

Positions on Drugs and Cannabis:

Governor Ron DeSantis has taken a complex and sometimes seemingly contradictory approach to drug policy, particularly when it comes to cannabis and hemp. On one hand, he has been a vocal critic of efforts to legalize recreational marijuana in Florida. He has argued that the state does not need expanded access to the drug, pointing to the hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries already operating following a 2016 constitutional amendment.

However, DeSantis recently vetoed a bill that would have significantly restricted the sale of hemp-derived products, including those with intoxicating compounds like delta-8 and delta-9 THC. This move suggests a more nuanced stance that is not strictly prohibitionist but instead seeks to balance public health concerns with the economic interests of the hemp industry.

Motivations for Vetoing Hemp Bill:

In his veto message, DeSantis laid out his reasoning for blocking the proposed hemp regulations. While he acknowledged the "commendable" goals of the bill, he argued that it would place excessive burdens on businesses and likely fail to achieve its intended purposes.

Instead, the governor called on lawmakers to revisit the issue in the next legislative session and engage with relevant stakeholders to craft a more comprehensive regulatory framework. He offered specific suggestions, such as focusing on quality control, retail sales, labeling, and packaging. DeSantis also recommended measures like random inspections, standardized testing, and purchase limits based on the character and potency of products.

This approach suggests a desire to find a middle ground that addresses safety concerns while still allowing a legitimate hemp industry to operate. It also demonstrates a willingness to dive into policy details and seek input from affected parties.

General Character:

Based on his record and statements, Ron DeSantis emerges as a conservative politician who is not afraid to chart his own course on complex issues like drug policy. Rather than adhering to strict ideological lines, he appears willing to consider the practical implications of government actions and balance competing interests.

At the same time, DeSantis is not shy about taking firm stances on issues that are important to him, as evidenced by his strong opposition to recreational marijuana legalization. He is a skilled communicator who can clearly articulate his positions and reasoning.

Overall, DeSantis presents himself as a pragmatic conservative, guided by principles but open to nuance and compromise when necessary. His approach to hemp and marijuana policy reflects this tendency, as he seeks to uphold public safety and order while also respecting individual liberties and economic realities.

Of course, as with any politician, there may be other factors shaping DeSantis' decision-making, such as political considerations or pressure from various interest groups.

A fuller understanding of his character and motivations would require a deeper examination of his background, allies, and aspirations. But based on the available evidence, he appears to be a thoughtful and engaged leader grappling with the challenges of a rapidly evolving policy landscape.

Now, personally, I’m a-political. However, I think it’s important that we look at these people objectively. I for one am not on board with many of DeSantis’ positions, however, when it comes to the Hemp Veto…he was incredibly nuanced in his approach.

Love him or hate him, DeSantis is an odd character.

The Sticky Bottomline: A Nuanced Approach in a Complex Landscape

So where does Ron DeSantis stand when it comes to the cannabis industry?

The reality is complex. On one level, his opposition to recreational marijuana legalization places him at odds with those seeking to expand access and commercialization. If the amendment passes, it could open up significant new opportunities that DeSantis seems reluctant to embrace.

Yet his veto of the hemp bill suggests he is not an implacable foe. By blocking restrictions that could have crippled the hemp sector, DeSantis threw a lifeline to a thriving industry. Had the bill gone through, it might have meant widespread business closures, job losses, and economic disruption.

The governor's rationale for the veto, emphasizing the need for a more thoughtful and collaborative approach to regulation, offers a glimpse into his governing philosophy. Rather than reactionary prohibition or unchecked liberalization, DeSantis seems to favor a middle path that carefully balances competing interests.

In a sense, this centrist approach represents a departure from the polarized politics that often dominate discussions of cannabis policy.

Rather than adhering to strict ideological positions, DeSantis appears willing to assess each situation on its merits and craft solutions that work for a broad range of stakeholders.

Whether this model of leadership is the best for Florida, or the nation as a whole is an open question. Some may argue that bold, uncompromising stances are necessary to drive progress on critical issues. Others might counter that a more measured, conciliatory approach is essential for building consensus and ensuring stability.

As an apolitical observer, I believe the ideal leader is one who can rise above partisan divisions and make decisions based on evidence, expertise, and concern for the greater good. This requires a willingness to listen to diverse perspectives, a commitment to principled pragmatism, and the courage to chart an independent course when necessary.

In the end, Governor DeSantis' record on cannabis is likely to be just one part of a larger legacy.

But it offers a revealing case study in the challenges and opportunities of leadership in a time of rapid change. As Florida and the nation continue to grapple with the complexities of drug policy, his approach may serve as a model, a cautionary tale, or a bit of both. The only certainty is that the debate is far from over.





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