Florida marijuana laws

Republican lawmakers in Florida are advancing legislation preemptively banning the sale of certain cannabis products to adults.

Under existing state law, adults may not legally possess or purchase cannabis products absent an authorization from a physician. However, in the coming weeks, justices on the state Supreme Court will decide whether to allow a ballot proposal legalizing the possession and retail sale of marijuana for adults to appear on the November 2024 ballot. (Proponents of the initiative have gathered the requisite number of signatures to qualify it for the ballot, but Republican Attorney General Ashley Moody has asked the court to invalidate the measure over what she believes to be misleading language in the initiative’s text. The AG used similar tactics to invalidate a 2022 legalization initiative.)

Nonetheless, certain lawmakers are seeking to preemptively restrict Florida’s adult-use market ahead of the Court’s ruling and before voters have had any opportunity to weigh in on it.

House Bill 1269 and Senate Bill 7050 prohibit the sale of cannabis flower products containing more than 30 percent THC to adults. Adult sales of concentrated cannabis products are capped at 60 percent THC. Both bills have passed out of their committees of origin.

Proponents of the bills opine that potency bans are necessary to protect consumers’ mental health. However, the results of a recently published study in the journal Addictive Behaviors concluded that among a cohort of consumers of both high-THC and low potency cannabis, “High potency cannabis use, measured as THC concentration in cannabis and high potency cannabis preference were not associated with increased symptoms of psychosis-like symptoms.”

NORML opposes the imposition of arbitrary THC potency caps, arguing: “Prohibiting adults from accessing these products from state-licensed retailers will not eliminate consumers’ demand for them. Rather, it will encourage consumers to seek out higher-THC products in the unregulated market. It will also move the production of these products exclusively underground. This undermines the primary goal of legalization, which is to provide patients with safe, above-ground access to lab-tested products of known purity, potency, and quality.”

NORML’s action alerts opposing HB 1269 and SB 7050 have generated over 1,900 communications to Florida lawmakers.

If the proposed Smart & Safe Florida amendment qualifies for the ballot, it will require the support of 60 percent of voters in order for it to take effect.

Polling compiled by the University of North Florida in November found that 67 percent of voters back the legalization proposal. However, more recently conducted polling by the Florida Chamber of Commerce pegged voter support at 57 percent.

Additional information on marijuana-specific legislation is available from NORML’s Take Action Center.

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