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DeSantis Defends Florida's Medical Marijuana Law

DeSantis speaks at a podium during a press conference
Wilfredo Lee

Gov. Ron DeSantis says he thinks the legislature acted within its authority when enacting the medical marijuana implementing bill. 

A state appeals court earlier this month temporarilystruck down parts of the law, including the licensing structure known as vertical integration. Medical marijuana companies in Florida are currently required to manage every aspect of growing, distributing and selling cannabis.

The lawsuit, brought by Florigrown, LLC, argues the legislature overstepped its bounds when drafting the bill that implemented the 2016 constitutional amendment.

DeSantis says he backs lawmakers, who are continuing to fight the ruling, even if the case makes its way to the state Supreme Court.

“So there’s a difference between, you know, policy-wise, I have said the way the legislature did it was not exactly consistent with a competitive market," DeSantis said. "From a constitutional perspective, I think they had the right to set those standards, and I know that a lot of people have relied on that licensing regime."

DeSantis previously expressed concern about the legislature's ban on smokingmedical marijuana, and pressed lawmakers to change that part of the law this legislative session.

A panel of judges on the First District Court of Appeal temporarily upheld a Leon County circuit judge's decision to strike down parts of the law. 

But a separate panel of judges on the court expressed greater skepticism during a hearing in which lawyers for the state House arguedfor a chance to defend the law.

Shawn Mulcahy is a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU. He graduated from Florida State University in 2019 with majors in public relations and political science. He was previously an intern at WFSU, and worked as an Account Coordinator at RB Oppenheim Associates.