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?
- PolitiFact ruling
- Progressive Choice Florida, radio ad (text), June 23, 2014
- NORML, State laws, accessed June 27, 2014
- NORML board member Norm Kent, "Florida’s Silver Bullet: the marijuana grow house eradication act," Jan. 16, 2009
- NORML, "The Five Worst states to get busted with pot" May 13, 2011
- Florida House, House Bill 173, Signed by Gov. Charlie Crist June 17, 2008
- Florida House, Senate Bill 366, Signed by Gov. Charlie Crist May 27, 2010
- Charlie Crist for governor, Campaign website, Accessed June 27, 2014
- Miami Herald Gay South Florida blog, "LGBT activists in Fort Lauderdale fundraise for gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist," March 20, 2014
- Orlando Sentinel, "Radio spot in Orlando accuses Crist of causing a ‘lost generation of African-Americans," June 23, 2014
- Orlando Sentinel, "McCollum: Crack down on sophisticated growing operations," Oct. 20, 2007 accessed via Nexis
- Miami Herald, "Crist wants to maintain drug penalties," March 15, 2008, accessed via Nexis
- Tampa Bay Times, "Florida has toughest pot laws, group finds," Nov. 5, 2009, accessed via Nexis June 27, 2014
- Tampa Bay Times, "Charlie Crist’s boss, John Morgan, to lead medical marijuana initiative," March 16, 2013
- DrugScience.org, "Marijuana Arrests in the United States (2007)," November 2009
- Florida House of Representatives, CS/HB 173 overview, accessed June 27, 2014
- ACLU of Florida, "2008 Florida legislative session summary," 2008
- Interview, Jamie Fontaine-Gansell, spokesman Progressive Choice Florida, June 27, 2014
- Interview, Allen St. Pierre, NORML executive director, June 27, 2014
- Interview, Paul Armentano, NORML deputy director, June 27, 2014
- Interview, former state Rep. Evan Jenne, D-Dania Beach, June 27, 2014
- Interview, NORML chair emeritus and defense attorney Norm Kent, June 27, 2014
- Interview, former Attorney General Bill McCollum, June 27, 2014
- Interview, William Shepherd, statewide prosecutor under Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum and now Holland and Knight attorney, June 27, 2014
- Interview, Drug Policy Alliance attorney Tamar Todd, June 27, 2014