Feb 18, 2022
cannabis consumers, communities of color, criminalization, enhanced cannabis penalties, exempt cannabis, FL, Florida, HB 95, House Judiciary Committee, increased penalties, Rep. Scott Plakon, Rep. Webster Barnaby
Alarming news. A bill that would harm cannabis consumers and communities of color could get a vote in the Florida House of Representatives as soon as Tuesday!
Let your states legislators know they should be rolling back — not increasing — cannabis penalties.
Last year, Rep. Scott Plakon (R) and Rep. Webster Barnaby (R) authored HB 95, which would 1) charge a person who illegally distributes a controlled substance to someone who later dies with murder, and 2) enhance the penalties to 10-15 years in prison for possession with intent to sell a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a number of healthcare and substance abuse facilities.
Despite adopting medical cannabis in 2016, cannabis is still considered a controlled substance under Florida law. Cannabis doesn’t cause fatal overdoses, but HB 95 could potentially result in a person who shared a joint with a friend being convicted of murder if their friend irresponsibly drove while impaired and died as a result.
More troubling is the second goal of HB 95, which would disproportionately impact densely populated, urban centers that many of Florida’s health facilities and communities of color call home.
HB 95 was voted out of the House Judiciary Committee last month on a 14-6 vote and has been added to the House special calendar for Tuesday, February 22. It could receive a vote that day.
That’s why we’re urging you to contact your state representative and tell them to vote “NO” on HB 95. Alternatively, we’re also asking lawmakers to amend HB 95 to exempt cannabis. After emailing your state representative, consider urging your friends and family to do the same.