Florida’s Governor is voicing concerns about a potential citizen’s initiative that could legalize recreational pot.

But it seems some of his concerns are misguided, as he doesn’t seem to fully understand the potential constitutional amendment based on some of this comments.

Addressing reporters after Sine Die in Tallahassee, Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested that the proposed language was too broad and left openings for quality-of-life infringement, but misrepresented the proposal.

“I looked at that language and, I mean, it is the broadest language I think I’ve ever seen, basically nobody could ever be regulated or penalized in any way for possessing or using this. I mean, what, you can’t regulate it near a school? You can’t tell people you can’t smoke?” DeSantis said.

“It seems to supersede any other regulatory regime that we have and that means that if that were to come to pass that people in the downtown areas, in different communities, this is going to be part of your community.”

He then complained about the possible effects.

“I’ve gone to some of these cities that have had this everywhere, it smells, there’s all these things,” DeSantis said.

“So from a quality of life perspective, if you can’t do time, place and manner restrictions, that is going to impact every Floridian in one way or another. And I just think it’s so incredibly broad that I think that provision is particularly problematic.”

The Governor suggested that there may be a difference between usage by “people in their homes, like we got a lot of things to worry about” and walking “in front of shops and having this.”

“I don’t want every hotel to really smell. I don’t want all these things, but if you’re saying you can’t regulate it or you can’t limit it — which, that’s how I read that — that could be a big, big problem.”

Smart and Safe Florida, the campaign driving the potential adult-use question, notes that in fact the amendment addresses the Governor’s concerns regarding guardrails against outdoor smoking and vaping.

“We agree with Governor DeSantis and do not want Florida to become like California and New York where public outdoor smoking is prevalent. This is exactly why we added language giving the Florida legislature the authority to limit outdoor and public consumption just like Florida already does for smoking tobacco products.”

Indeed, the language stipulates “nothing in this amendment prohibits the Legislature from enacting laws that are consistent with this amendment.”

DeSantis has predicted that the Florida Supreme Court would approve the Adult Personal Use of Marijuana citizen initiative that could lead to a constitutional amendment for voter consideration, with legalization in effect as soon as May 2025 if 60% or more of voters approve.

His opposition to the amendment follows the lead of Attorney General Ashley Moody, who has cited law requiring constitutional amendments to touch on just a single subject, and expressed doubt about whether this one complies with all technical requirements of state law.

DeSantis has said he opposes legalization for a variety of reasons, including saying today’s product is “too potent” and that dealers can “throw fentanyl in” while on the campaign trail last year during his presidential campaign.

Early in his first term in office, DeSantis pleased reformers when he came out against the Rick Scott-era opposition to cannabis that could be smoked. Previously, loose flower was not available, with only vaporizer cups for sale at dispensaries.

“I look at someone who has Lou Gehrig’s disease or terminal cancer or multiple sclerosis. … I think the Florida voters who voted for that wanted them to have access to medical marijuana under the supervision of a physician. Whether they have to smoke it or not, who am I to judge that?” DeSantis said. “I want people to have their suffering relieved. I don’t think this law is up to snuff.”

However, the Governor has taken a harder line against marijuana in recent years.

“If you look at some of the stuff that’s now coming down, there’s a lot of really bad things in it. It’s not necessarily what you would’ve had 30 years ago when someone’s in college and they’re doing something. You have some really, really bad stuff in there, so I think having the ability to identify that, I think, that’s safety, and quite frankly when you get into some of that stuff, it’s not medicinal at that point for sure,” DeSantis said, in response to a reporter’s question in 2021.

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