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Senator Farmer, District 34 — Press Release


January 10, 2018

CONTACT: Jake Flaherty, 850-487-5034

Senator Farmer Calls for Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use in Florida

Tallahassee: 12:10PM —

Following the decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to crackdown on states that have legalized the use of marijuana for medical and recreational use, State Senator Gary Farmer has called upon the Florida Legislature to send a strong message of opposition to the federal government’s outdated and harmful marijuana policies. “The recent decision by our Attorney General has cast a spotlight on the injustice of our state and country’s current marijuana laws. It has become increasingly clear that the current prohibition on marijuana possession has had a negative impact on our communities on multiple levels. I believe that it is time for Florida to not only modernize our flawed policies on marijuana, but to send a strong message to the rest of the country in doing so. We need to make it clear that the people of Florida stand against the grave injustices that have been created by our state and federal prohibition on the possession of marijuana for recreational use,” said Senator Farmer.

Citing inaccurate science as the basis for current law, and negative societal effects associated with prohibition, Senator Farmer stated his intention to file legislation next year that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

“Studies have shown that marijuana is far less deadly than other banned substances, as well as alcohol and nicotine. We also know that marijuana is vastly less addictive than alcohol, nicotine, and other Schedule I and II drugs. The National Academy of Sciences has also stated that there is no conclusive evidence that the effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs. Knowing that the science behind our policy is flawed, a change must certainly be made.”

“The enforcement of our current ban on marijuana possession has cost states over $3.6 billion a year, diverting our law enforcement’s attention and resources from issues that are far more important to public safety. The current prohibition has made criminals out of otherwise innocent individuals, while tearing families and communities apart in the process. To make things worse we have seen a racial bias in enforcement. In spite of the fact that marijuana usage is relatively similar amongst blacks and whites, black individuals are 4.2 times more likely to be arrested for possession than their white counterparts. Current policy has not only failed to stand up to scientific scrutiny, but it is failing our communities and our quest for equality as well.”

While the bill will not be filed until the 2019 Legislative Session, Senator Farmer has instructed his staff to begin looking into the best way to implement a legalization plan in Florida. “There are a number of states that have already passed similar laws, but each state has a unique set of circumstances to deal with. We will be looking into what has been done elsewhere, as well as talking to various groups and individuals across the state and nationwide. I wanted to announce my intentions far enough in advance so as to guarantee a well-crafted piece of legislation next year,” said Senator Farmer.