Congressman Matt Gaetz Issues Statement on Governor DeSantis’ Medical Marijuana Announcement in Florida

January 17, 2019
Press Release

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Matt Gaetz (FL-01) released the following statement in response to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ major announcement today regarding medical marijuana. During the press conference this afternoon, Gov. DeSantis announced his administration’s plans to address the issue of medical marijuana in the state by first pushing the Florida legislature to pass legislation to fix the current anti-marijuana laws in place, before ultimately stepping in and dropping the state’s appeal that seeks to overturn Florida’s ban on smoking medical marijuana.

“As the author of Florida’s first medical cannabis laws, I am glad to see that Governor DeSantis is committed to executing the will of the people on medical marijuana. His announcement today shows that the Florida legislature must be equally committed. The protracted legal battles over legal ‘forms’ of cannabis have infringed on Floridians’ constitutional rights, while denying patients across the state the treatment methods their physicians recommend. I am glad that Governor DeSantis is giving the Florida legislature an opportunity to act, and I am hopeful that they will work quickly to clarify medical cannabis laws in the Sunshine State,” said Rep. Gaetz.


Yesterday, Rep. Gaetz introduced the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2019 in the U.S. House of Representatives. The bipartisan legislation would federally unlock the potential to research the cures offered by medical cannabis, which could prove beneficial to veterans, the chronically ill, and the elderly. The legislation does not change the legal status of cannabis, and does not interfere with federal, state, or local cannabis laws. In the 115th Congress, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Medical Cannabis Research Act of 2018 and sent it to the House floor for a vote — making it the first cannabis-related legislation considered by a Republican-led Judiciary Committee in history. Cosponsors of the Medical Cannabis Research Act include: Congressmen Darren Soto (FL-09), Ken Buck (CO-04), Jimmy Panetta (CA-20), and Diana DeGette (CO-01).

Currently, cannabis research is stymied by laws that unfairly prevent many of America’s great research institutions from studying cannabis, despite its promise as a treatment for nausea, epilepsy, muscular sclerosis, and a host of other conditions. Cannabis has the potential to mitigate opioid abuse and addiction, and early studies indicate that it may even help veterans who suffer from PTSD. By giving research institutions “safe harbor” — keeping them safe from legal retribution — the Medical Cannabis Research Act will greatly assist American researchers unlock cures that cannabis may provide. Just last month, the FDA approved a cannabis-derived medicine for certain types of epilepsy. Future research is likely to unlock other cures.