PolitiFact: Did Charlie Crist sign into law the toughest marijuana statutes ever?

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 08, 2014, 7:40 AM EDT

With the race for Florida's governor heating up, the claims and accusations are coming from all corners, not just from the candidates themselves. 

One nonprofit political group, called Progressive Choice Florida, has been making noise about former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) and his quest to take his seat back from Gov. Rick Scott (R).

Progressive Choice Florida has come out against Crist in various mailings and radio commercials, pointing out that he may not be as progressive as he would have you think. In a recent radio commercial, Progressive Choice Florida said this about Charlie Crist:

"Charlie Crist signed the nation’s harshest marijuana laws."

PolitiFact decided to take a look at Crist's record when it came to marijuana legislation passed while he was Governor, and reporter Joshua Gillin says Progressive Choice Florida's claim rates MOSTLY FALSE. Gillin said that marijuana laws were already tough in Florida before Crist took office and that during Crist's term, he only had two bills to sign into law.

"We took a look at the two bills he signed," Gillin said. "One bill, HR 173, referred to grow houses and grow house equipment. The other bill that he signed into law, SB 366, had to do with whether or not head shops could sell smoking paraphernalia like pipes or bongs or things of that nature. Those two bills sailed through the Legislature and arrived on Crist's desk, where he signed them into law."

Gillin points out that Crist had claimed to be in favor of strict drug laws, but those strict laws were there when he moved into the governor's mansion. So Crist or the Legislature didn't necessarily have to do anything that hadn't already been done.  Since the laws were already in place before Crist took over and Crist didn't do anything to make those existing laws any more tougher, the claim by Progressive Choice Florida is rated MOSTLY FALSE by PolitiFact.

 

SOURCES: CRIST TOUGH WITH MARIJUANA LAWS?