Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law that repeals the ban on smokable medical marijuana. (Via Florida governor’s office)
TALLAHASSEE, FL — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed legislation into law Monday that repeals the ban on smokable medical marijuana in the Sunshine State.
"Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016," DeSantis. "I thank my colleagues in the legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld."
In January, DeSantis called on the Florida legislature to deliver a legislative solution to medical marijuana that allows smoking as a method of consumption by qualified patients.
"Now that we have honored our duty to find a legislative solution, I have honored my commitment and filed a joint motion to dismiss the state’s appeal and to vacate the lower court decision which had held the prior law to be unconstitutional," DeSantis said.
In addition to signing the bill titled "Medical Use of Marijuana" into law, DeSantis filed a joint motion to dismiss People United for Medical Marijuana v. Department of Health and to vacate the lower court decision that held the prior law to be unconstitutional, according to the governor’s office.
While lawmakers weren’t necessarily in favor of allowing medical marijuana to be smoked, they faced the prospect of having it become legal without any restrictions.
"This is a difficult issue, and you’re going to have people on both sides; some that are happy that now this is available to them and others that feel that we didn’t go far enough," House Speaker Jose Oliva said after the measure was approved by the legislature. "We did the best that we could do and still remain responsible."
Voters approved medical marijuana in 2016, but lawmakers banned smokable forms of the plant in a bill signed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2017. The state was sued over the issue and a judge declared the ban unconstitutional. Scott, now a Republican U.S. senator, appealed the ruling.
DeSantis said in late January that the current law doesn’t represent the will of the voters and that he would drop the appeal if lawmakers didn’t repeal the ban by mid-March.
Lawmakers quickly followed up on his ultimatum with its first bill to go before DeSantis during the 60-day legislative session.
"I thank the Florida legislature for taking action on medical marijuana and upholding the will of the voters," DeSantis said when the bill was passed.
The bill places several conditions on smokable medical marijuana. It will not be available to anyone under the age of 18 unless the patient is terminally ill, and if two doctors — one of them a pediatrician — say it is the most effective form of treatment.
It will not be able to be smoked in public or at private businesses subject to the state’s cigarette smoking ban.
Private property owners will have the right to prohibit it. Patients will not be able to possess more than four ounces of marijuana in a smokable form.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.