CBD And Cannabis History: Florida
Believe it or not, Florida lawmakers and prosecutors went a long way towards determining the American public’s opinions about marijuana at the very beginning of the prohibition era. In October of 1933, a young Floridian man named Victor Licata used an axe to murder his entire family while they were asleep.
Despite evidence of mental illness, police reports and the press started to spread the claim that the boy was “addicted to marijuana”. The very next day, this led the Chief of Tampa Police to pledge himself to the cause of complete cannabis prohibition: “the increasing use of this narcotic must stop and will be stopped”.
Victor’s story swept throughout the country over the next few weeks, emboldening cannabis regulation and prohibition efforts everywhere. Although the stereotype didn’t end up persisting, Victor’s crime made Americans believe weed could cause violence, insanity, and criminality. All over the country, walkways and bridges were plastered with campaign signs stating, “Stop this Murderous Smoke”.
Cannabis, CBD, And Florida
Now, the story is much different. Once again, conversations about the impact CBD and cannabis may play on persistent health conditions has emboldened public debate.
Currently, cannabis in Florida is illegal for recreational use. Possession of up to 20 grams is a misdemeanor, incurring a one year prison sentence, fine of $1000, and a driver’s license suspension.
By contrast, medical cannabis was legalized in 2016 by constitutional amendment. Approved by 71 percent of the vote, it should be no surprise that the aging population of the state has a vested interest in getting access to cannabis for worsening health problems.
Additionally, specific counties have decreased the severity of the state-mandated cannabis possession penalties. In Tampa, the penalty for a first offense is a mere $75 with no jail time incurred. West Palm Beach, Miami Beach, Sarasota, and other cities have all approved decriminalization ordinances.
Unlike most other states, Arizona legislators went out of their way to formally legalize CBD oils. Under the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act in 2014, qualifying patients with epilepsy, cancer, and neurodegenerative conditions can get access to a strain of high CBD cannabis oil known as Charlotte’s Web.
In some ways, Arizona is providing a distinct model that local lawmakers can use to push cannabis legalization and decriminalization through governmental channels. Arizona counties, cities, and residents created small scale changes in local regions that ended up radically shifting the legal stance of the entire state.
The conversation is now an exact inversion of Victor’s national media coverage: instead of encouraging violence and mental illness, researchers now believe cannabis and its extracts can bolster positive health results.