An election season that will influence American politics for a generation to come commences (here in Florida, anyway) with the primaries on Aug. 28. Both parties are due for a reckoning of sorts, almost existentially so, as each prepares to pick various nominees to face off on Nov. 6, the results of which will impact directly on local elections next spring and the utter inveterate shitshow already looming for 2020. But just for today, we narrow the focus to cannabis and related matters.
My friend Sil Kaelin, owner of Jax Hydroponic Unique Goods (Jax HUGs), suggested offering a brief voter’s guide to the primaries for those interested in advancing the pro-pot agenda, and that’s a great idea. Parsing the data is a chore; it’s often hard to traverse the transom between rhetoric and action on this matter, since politicians have a nasty habit of going back on their word. But the rise of medical marijuana in Florida has brought the issue into the light as never before. We’re going to focus on the governor’s race, since that’s the only one that really matters in this instance.
It’d be easy enough to say that pro-decriminalization voters should just run the table for Democrats and keep it moving, but that would be a bit simplistic. Historically, Dems from Clinton to Obama have been sketchy on this, saying the right things on the stump then backtracking in actual practice—one reason they lost the White House. But they seem to have learned the lesson in 2018, with all the gubernatorial candidates united on this front. As mayors, Philip Levine and (my pick) Andrew Gillum have reduced arrests in Miami and Tallahassee, respectively, while businessmen Jeff Greene and Chris King have indicated they’d pursue similar policies if elected. Gwen Graham has said the same, and you’re welcome to believe her if you like; it’s a free country.
Pro-pot Dems can, for the most part, take their pick, but the Republican primary is more complicated. Adam Putnam is the worst-case scenario, a reflexive drug warrior who’ll continue Rick Scott’s practice of obstruction at every turn. So will Ron DeSantis, but he was endorsed by Trump, who’s expressed mild affinity for legalization. (Of course, no bill gets to his desk without Democrats taking back both houses of Congress, in which case they’ll probably be too busy impeaching him to do much else, so it’s all but a wash.) The libertarian right has a champion in Bruce Nathan, who’s been clear about his legalization agenda. He won’t win, but he offers a credible alternative.
Ultimately, the future of Florida’s marijuana laws will be decided in November and, as things stand now, the governor’s race is a jump-ball. Once both parties work through their issues
in the primary, it hinges on which side is better able to coalesce and work together, always a challenge here.
Remember, folks, balloting for Folio Weekly’s prestigious Best of Jax readers’ poll ends Friday, Aug. 24 at midnight, and only you can help. Every nomination made for “Best Medical Marijuana Clinic” and “Best Medical Marijuana Dispensary” enters you automatically in our $500 sweepstake. That will buy a goodly sum of cannabis, even at current prices. Vote early, and vote often!
Got questions about medical marijuana? Let us answer them. Send inquiries to [email protected].