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Florida GOP Lawmaker Files a Bill to Cap Cannabis THC Levels at 10% If Voters Approve Legalization Measure

As organizers await the state’s Supreme Court decision on the legality of the voter-driven initiative, one Republican state legislator plans to stifle the effort by any means necessary.



For decades, most Americans associated the state of Florida with beaches, sunshine, hot temps, and retirees. However, since the infamous “hanging chad” incident during the 2000 presidential election, the Sunshine State has become a hotbed of political extremes, including the most recent effort by cannabis reform activists to get an initiative legalizing adult-use marijuana on the 2024 election ballot this November.


In August 2022, the "Smart & Safe Florida" political committee began its campaign to push for adult-use cannabis legalization. Through its initiative, the "Adult Personal Use of Marijuana" proposal, the campaign has collected enough signatures to qualify for next year's ballot placement. However, this past June, ​​Florida's Attorney General, Ashley Moody (R), submitted a brief asking the state Supreme Court to invalidate the measure from the 2024 ballot, claiming that it misleads voters as written. 


In her legal brief, Moody explains, "Floridians would likely care about this issue because greater competition in the marijuana marketplace would decrease retail prices and increase the quality and professionalism of marijuana producers and retailers. But currently, only [Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers] are licensed to engage in the marijuana trade in Florida, and the proposed amendment would not change that."


"Floridians would likely care about this issue because greater competition in the marijuana marketplace would decrease retail prices and increase the quality and professionalism of marijuana producers and retailers. But currently, only [Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers] are licensed to engage in the marijuana trade in Florida, and the proposed amendment would not change that."

- Legal Brief Filed by Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody


If the court rules the measure is legally valid and is subsequently approved by at least 60% of voters this coming November, it would add an amendment to the Florida State Constitution allowing people 21 or older "to possess, purchase, or use marijuana products and marijuana accessories for non-medical personal consumption by smoking, ingestion, or otherwise."


This attempt would be the third time a legalization ballot initiative went before the court for approval in two years. Two proposed measures submitted by “Make It Legal Florida” and “Sensible Florida” in 2021 failed to meet the criteria for the court and were rejected. However, many legal experts and cannabis industry advocates believe this time will be the charm.


If their predictions are correct and the initiative does pass, one state Republican lawmaker wants to have a law in place to immediately restrict THC levels in recreational cannabis products sold to consumers. As first reported by Marijuana Moment, Rep. Ralph Massullo (R) introduced legislation last Friday that would place a substantial cap on THC concentrations that is significantly lower than what’s available in most state markets. 


If it passes and is signed into law by Gov. DeSantis (R), it would take effect 30 days after voters pass any future constitutional amendment to enact legalization. The measure would set a 10% THC limit for all smokeable cannabis products and a 60% limit for all other forms of marijuana, such as extracts. In addition, the bill would set a total package limit of 200 milligrams of THC for edible cannabis offerings, with individual servings limited to only 10 milligrams.


As with most ill-advised and reactionary legislative actions offered by opponents of legalization reform, the ramifications of this particular piece of legislation could be colossal and potentially catastrophic. 


For starters, the law would create serious logistical and commercial problems for any adult-use market. Likewise, if enacted, the bill will likely be met with significant pushback from consumers, advocates, and stakeholders. Considering that most cannabis flower sold at the average recreational retailer or medical dispensary typically hovers around 20% - 30% THC, a 10% limit would be a ridiculous level in the minds of cannabis customers and business owners.


Adding more potential conflict to the proposed measure is the fact that Florida already has an existing medicinal marijuana program. And, because Massullo’s bill only addresses “potency limits for adult personal use,” the proposed legislation could create massive complications by enacting two different sets of THC limits for patients and consumers.


However, nothing can take place at the State House until the Florida Supreme Court rules on the validity of the ballot measure itself. With Attorney General Ashley Moody (R) leading the legal challenge to invalidate the reform measure, both sides presented oral arguments before the court this past November. 


The justices have yet to present their judgment on the case. But when they do, it is clear Massullo’s bill would severely hobble the effectiveness and overall success of the potentially booming adult-use cannabis market in the state. For now, both sides must wait and see, a strategy all too familiar to the passionate and, at times, frustrated supporters of nationwide cannabis legalization. 


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