Bill to Legalize Recreational Pot Use Filed by Miami State Senator

Some Republicans in the state legislature may be ready to legalize medical marijuana (though only if it's the nonsmokable stuff), but at least one Democrat wants all weed legalized.

Sen. Dwight Bullard, a Democrat representing Cutler Bay and current chair of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, introduced SB 1176 yesterday. The bill would effectively legalize marijuana, even for recreational use, in Florida.

Bullard's bill is thoroughly in-depth. It would start by changing the name of the Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation, and then it would set up a system to tax marijuana sales (the bill mandates that about 5 percent of collected taxes be used for studies on marijuana's safety and benefits).

The bill would also allow people aged 21 years and older to have up to six marijuana plants in their home. Adults would also be to able to use, possess, transport, or gift up 2.5 ounces of marijuana or six seedlings to another adult. It also allows for the opening of marijuana-growing facilities and retail stores. However, the bill sets limits on the number of stores based on the size of the local population and allows municipalities to vote to ban marijuana stores from opening within their borders.

Bullard wasn't immediately available to talk about the new bill, but he did discuss the possibility of recreational marijuana legalization with New Times last August.

"Marijuana, whether medical or recreational, could be another way of generating revenue in Florida," the senator said. "It has a potential for real positive economic impact with real small-business growth."

Granted, Bullard's Democratic Party is in the minority in the state legislature, and the bill has very little hope of being heard in committee, let alone being passed. But if Florida's political climate becomes warmer to pot legalization, Bullard already has the bill written and ready to go.

Interestingly, the news comes just as laws legalizing marijuana in Alaska take effect.

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