What is the bill about?
Florida State Representative Ralph Massullo has introduced a bill that would limit the potency of cannabis products in the event that adult-use marijuana is legalized in the state later this year. The bill, which has not been assigned a number yet, would set a maximum THC content of 10% for cannabis products intended for smoking and 60% for concentrates. Additionally, marijuana edibles would be subject to a cap of 200 milligrams of THC per package and 10 milligrams per serving.
The bill aims to prevent consumers from consuming too much THC, which is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that can cause intoxication and impairment. THC can also have negative effects on health, such as anxiety, paranoia, memory loss, and increased heart rate.
Why is the bill controversial?
The bill faces opposition from some cannabis advocates and industry groups, who argue that it would restrict consumer choice and access to high-quality products. They also claim that it would create an unfair advantage for medical cannabis patients, who already have lower THC limits than recreational users.
Some critics also question the timing and motivation of the bill, as it comes amid uncertainty over the legalization of adult-use marijuana in Florida. A campaign named Smart & Safe Florida has qualified for the 2024 ballot to put a measure on the November election that would legalize recreational cannabis in the state. However, the measure is currently being challenged by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody in court, who alleges that it violates constitutional provisions on taxation and regulation.
If approved by voters, Smart & Safe Florida would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of cannabis flower or eight grams of concentrate at a time. It would also allow them to grow up to six plants per household or purchase up to one ounce from licensed retailers. The campaign estimates that it would generate $1.2 billion in annual tax revenue for the state.
How likely is the bill to pass?
The bill’s chances of passing are slim, as it faces strong opposition from both sides of the debate. Previous attempts to limit cannabis flower potency to 10% THC have failed in previous legislative sessions. For example, House Bill 1455 passed a House committee in March with a party-line vote of 9-0, but did not advance further due to lack of support from other committees.
Moreover, most Floridians support legalizing recreational cannabis use according to recent polls. A survey conducted by Quinnipiac University in December found that 58% of registered voters favor legalizing marijuana for adults under age 21. Another poll by St. Pete Polls conducted in January found that 52% of likely voters support legalizing recreational cannabis use.
Therefore, unless there is a significant shift in public opinion or political will before November, it is unlikely that Massullo’s bill will become law.