- State Senator Shevrin Jones on Friday submitted a letter to Gov. Ron DeSantis seeking that he use executive power to pardon Floridians convicted of simple possession of marijuana
- President Joe Biden on Thursday night pardoned those convicted at the federal level, clearing roughly 6,500 individuals of marijuana-related charges
- Biden additionally urged governors to undertake similar action at the state level
- Medical marijuana was legalized in Florida in 2016 via a Constitutional amendment
Florida Senator Shevrin Jones on Friday wrote to Gov. Ron DeSantis seeking that he pardon state-level simple possession of marijuana charges. President Joe Biden on Thursday night announced that his administration is taking action by pardoning thousands of Americans convicted of simple possession of marijuana at the federal level.
Following Biden’s announcement last night, he urged state governors to take similar action at the state level. In response, Jones issued a letter to DeSantis asking him to use executive power to pardon Floridians who have been convicted by the State of Florida of similar offenses.
“Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced that his administration will be taking executive action to pardon every American that has been convicted of simple possession of marijuana under federal law. I am writing to ask you to consider extending a similar policy to citizens here in Florida who have previous convictions for simple possession of marijuana,” wrote Jones. “As you may know, the majority of possession convictions happen at the state level rather than at the federal level, which means that without similar action here in Florida, many Floridians will still carry the burden of their conviction.”
While Biden is pardoning those with convictions at the federal level, the move covers fewer than 7,000 individuals. With the vast majority of convictions taking place at the state level, Biden’s action affects few Floridians.
Commissioner of Agriculture Nikki Fried, a medical marijuana advocate who campaigned on legalizing recreational use, said Biden’s order is “the right thing to do.”
Recent polling conducted by the University of North Florida Public Opinion Research Lab revealed that a majority of Floridians support legalized recreational use in the state.
State leaders, however, have traditionally taken an opposing stance. DeSantis earlier this year said that he would be in favor of decriminalizing cannabis, but is hesitant to fully legalize its use.
Medical marijuana was made legal via a Constitutional amendment in 2016, though a referendum on recreational use has not been held.
Trulieve, an industry leader in the Florida cannabis market, contributed $5 million dollars to the Smart and Safe Florida campaign, according to recently-released financial reports. The initiative aims to legalize recreational, adult-use cannabis use in the state.
Trulieve’s investment is the second of its kind; the company has now contributed $10 million to Smart Safe Florida, which is attempting to place the initiative on the ballot in 2024.