Florida medical cannabis patients are officially able to buy and consume smokable cannabis products after Republican Gov. Rick DeSantis signed legislation this week overturning the state’s controversial smoking ban, NBC reports.
Senate Bill 182 passed Florida’s Senate on March 7 in a 34-4 vote and was approved by the House on March 13 by a vote of 101-11. The ban was originally imposed by the state legislature in response to Florida’s 2016 landslide vote in favor of medical cannabis legalization, but faced immediate backlash and lawsuits from patient advocates. A judge ultimately ruled that the ban was unconstitutional, but the state — under the leadership of former governor Rick Scott (R) — appealed that decision.
Gov. DeSantis requested legislation overturning the ban shortly after taking office in January. He said that if lawmakers failed to act by Friday, he would take action himself by pulling the state out of the appeal lawsuit, which would have also lifted the ban.
“Over 70 percent of Florida voters approved medical marijuana in 2016. I thank my colleagues in the Legislature for working with me to ensure the will of the voters is upheld.” — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), in a press release
The shift is expected to open the market up to potentially tens of millions of dollars in additional revenue. The bill takes effect immediately, but Florida dispensaries probably won’t start selling smokable flower products until this summer.