A state senator from Miami, Florida has filed a bill that would allow for recreational usage of marijuana in the state.
If passed, the bill sponsored by Sen. Dwight Bullard (D-Miami) would allow people over the age of twenty-one to cultivate six marijuana plants and legally possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana. It would also create a regulatory apparatus to oversee the sale and taxation of marijuana.
The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco would, under Sen. Bullard’s bill, be renamed the Department of Alcoholic Beverages, Marijuana, and Tobacco, and it would handle the licensing and business practices of marijuana dispensaries.
The bill is not expected to pass Florida’s Republican-dominated Legislature, and could undercut support for two upcoming measures: one of which would legalize marijuana for medicinal uses, and another that would legalize a marijuana extract for children who suffer from severe seizures.
Bullard’s bill hits the Senate floor the same day Robert Duncan, the manager of a licensed medical marijuana operation in California, reports to the Mendota Federal Correctional Institution to begin a two year prison sentence for his involvement with a California dispensary that, according to the federal government, had grown too large.
Duncan’s plight highlights the conflict between state and federal officials when it comes to the cultivation and distribution of marijuana. He had only begun growing, he wrote at The Huffington Post, because “the federal government said it would not intervene if people followed state law. We wanted to abide by the rules. None of us had criminal backgrounds. We’re all regular guys. The only reason we got into this was because the federal government said they wouldn’t intervene.”
But it did intervene. He was arrested after one of the facilities he managed was raided. He wrote that he took a plea deal because his “plea bargain was written in such a way that I could negotiate down to just probation with the judge.”
“So early on, I was kind of led to believe that was a realistic possibility. But as the case progressed and I learned how conservative the judge and the prosecutor were, that seemed less and less likely.”
The Huffington Post will broadcast live with Duncan when he reports to the Mendota Federal Correctional Institution this afternoon.
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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