Something stinks about DeSantis' weed statement

Facts and history appear to be neglected in the Florida governor's campaign against marijuana

For those who enjoy exploring and have visited Hershey, Pennsylvania, you know that it has a unique smell. Built to make the famous chocolate bar, the area smells of chocolate. It is a factory town where orders are produced all day long. Few places in the country have problems with odors like Hersey's. But if you listen Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, you would think that more than half of the country struggles with certain smells.

DeSantis has called recreational cannabis a problem and complained about the “stench” of marijuana. This is in response to the state Supreme Court allowing recreational marijuana to be placed on the November ballot. Something seems to stink about DeSantis' statement about weeds. He doesn't seem to understand science or history. And with over 50% of the country's population having access to legal marijuana, there could have been an even bigger stink if his statement was correct.

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Now those over 40 can remember when smoking was legal indoors, including restaurants, grocery stores and other public spaces. You noticed a whiff of stale tobacco. But smoking outdoors is now required by law. And although Florida isn't in the top 10 smoking states, it's estimated that more than 2.2 million of its citizens smoke (not counting tourists). However, he did not comment on the fact that he was near a beach or wandering the streets of the state capital and noticed a smell Marlboro.

Near Tallahassee, where the governor sits, he is near the Florida Panhandle. For generations, the economy was driven by paper mills. Living in this area puts you close to some of the most beautiful beaches, but will also test your sense of smell in some areas. RockTenn, one of the region's larger paper mills, produces some particularly fragrant scents when it “cooks” paper. Occasionally a strong smell of sulfur wafts through the region, which is harmless but certainly unmistakable. Paper mills are an economic lifeline and part of the fabric of North Florida. If the Foley pulp mill in Perry closes, University of Florida economists predict devastating consequences. It will cost Florida nearly 2,000 jobs and $9.9 million in state and local taxes. That's far less than the near-zero smell of gummy bears and e-cigarettes that will be part of the more than $1 billion industry in the Sunshine State alone.

There are now 24 states (plus the District of Columbia) where recreational marijuana has been legalized as of February 2024. Some of these, including California, New York and DC, are seeing high visitor numbers, and yet no one is complaining about a long- or medium-term smell of cannabis in the city. Yes, like with cigarettes: if you walk past someone smoking you can smell the smell, but as you walk past it disappears.

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality of Life

The governor appears dismayed that the Florida Supreme Court has sent a proposed initiative to legalize adult-use cannabis to the November 5, 2024 vote in a 5-2 ruling. Florida voters will be able to express their opinions again.

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