Trump’s Influence Looms Large Over Florida’s Cannabis Legalization Vote, Will He Tip The Scales?

Apr 8, 2024

Last Monday’s Florida Supreme Court ruling greenlighting a cannabis legalization initiative for the November ballot thrusts cannabis reform into the national spotlight as all eyes turn to a certain Palm Beach resident who wields significant power to influence the outcome: Donald Trump.

Will He Or Won’t He?

A positive endorsement from Trump on cannabis legalization could potentially sway his base, given his ability to rally MAGA crowds. Conversely, a negative stance might have an opposite effect.

What Does Trump Think About Legalizing Marijuana?

Trump’s track record on cannabis policy is somewhere between incomprehensible and contradictory. His tendency to blend anti-drug rhetoric with recognition of states’ rights to enact their own cannabis laws keeps everyone guessing. He’s called for the death penalty for drug dealers on various occasions, despite having pardoned several people convicted of selling drugs before he left office in January 2021.

In late April 2023, he said that even though marijuana does significant damage, “from a voting standpoint, it’s [legalization is] a pretty popular thing.”

Earlier in April, Trump told a National Rifle Association meeting that the uptick in mass shootings was “not a gun problem” but rather that “genetically engineered” cannabis and the trans community could be at fault.

Another Ballot Initiative Nay Sayer

All of the above waffling notwithstanding, the strategic implications of cannabis reform are not likely lost on Trump. The November ballot initiative, known as Amendment 3, in a battleground state like Florida will increase the pressure on him to show his cards.

Like his former political ally Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Trump is not a fan of cannabis legalization ballot initiatives. During the 2020 campaign, Trump discouraged placing weed initiatives on state ballots, fearing it would boost Democratic turnout, noted the Daily Beast at the time.   

See also: DeSantis Furious As Legal Weed, Abortion Rights Move Toward November Ballot, Calls Amendments ‘Radical,’ ‘Confusing’ For Voters

Far-Reaching Implications

With the potential for nationwide ramifications, both Trump and President Joe Biden face pressure to address cannabis reform head-on as its popularity across the U.S. has never been higher. Seven in 10 Americans support cannabis legalization including the highest number of Republicans to date, according to a November 2023 Gallup poll.

The question now is whether Trump’s comments about the cannabis legalization vote in Florida will tip the scales, impacting Amendment 3’s fate and by extension the White House.

In terms of Biden, rescheduling cannabis – a task solidly in the grip of the DEA – could potentially affect the president’s campaign promises and test voters’ patience.

One thing is certain though, cannabis reform is about to take its place in the national spotlight as we move toward the 2024 elections.

Speaking Of Florida, The Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference Will Be In Town Soon

Florida and cannabis legalization will be hot topics at the upcoming Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Hollywood, Florida, April 16-17. Stay with us at the Diplomat Beach Resort and rub shoulders with entrepreneurs, both large and small and network, learn and grow. Renowned for its trendsetting abilities and influence on the future of cannabis, mark your calendars – this conference is the go-to event of the year for the cannabis world. Get your tickets now on – Prices will increase very soon!

Photo: Benzinga edit with images by Shealah Craighead on Wikimedia Commons and Kym MacKinnon on Unsplash

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