Legalized recreational marijuana in Florida will be inevitable sooner or later | Rangel

Brevard-Seminole County State Attorney Phil Archer sent out a memo in July warning law enforcement agencies that charging people with simple possession of marijuana has become a lot harder.

The legalization this year of hemp-derived products such as CBD has made distinguishing between hemp and marijuana a difficult and expensive task. Hemp may contain up to .3% of THC, the same substance found in marijuana, and both can look and smell the same. Roadside tests can confirm the presence of THC but not quantity.

“Distinguishing between hemp and cannabis by mere sight or smell is virtually impossible,” Archer wrote in the memo.

His office now requires a laboratory test to confirm the existence of cannabis before filing simple possession charges. It also requires law enforcement to pay for expert witnesses.

Enforcing simple marijuana possession laws has become expensive and probably not worth law enforcement’s efforts. Meanwhile, Floridians are becoming more open to pot, as evidenced in the decriminalization of small amounts of it in places like Cocoa Beach and Palm Bay. 

Florida will soon have to reckon with the fact that continuing to prohibit recreational marijuana is not only at odds with cultural changes but might be a moot point. 

The question isn’t if Florida will legalize pot, but when. That might happen sooner than you expect — in the 2020 elections.

A new constitutional amendment proposal was filed with the state recently to allow adults 21 years and older to “possess, use, purchase, display and transport” a maximum 2.5 ounces of marijuana….

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