DeSantis Claims – People Will be Able to Bring ’20 Joints to an Elementary School’ Amid Cannabis Legalization Amendment

By: Lauren Fokas | Published: Jun 19, 2024

Florida is seriously considering passing a piece of legislation that will legalize marijuana for all residents aged 21 and older. However, Republican Governor Ron DeSantis is vehemently against the bill.

In a recent press statement, Gov. DeSantis told his constituents that the new law, known as Amendment 3, would lead to people bringing dozens of cannabis joints into elementary schools. However, advocates of the bill argue that DeSantis’ statement is wildly incorrect and nothing more than a fear-mongering tactic.

Amendment 3: The Marijuana Bill in Florida

The constitutional amendment, known as Amendment 3, approves the legalization of all marijuana products and accessories for Floridians over the age of 21.

A judge’s gavel shown on top of a marijuana leaf and an American flag, representing legalized marijuana

Source: Olena Ruban/Getty Images

In order for the amendment to pass, it first needed to be approved by the Florida Supreme Court, and then voted on by Florida residents. However, one of these steps has already come to pass.

The Florida Supreme Court Passed the Marijuana Legalization Bill

On April 1, 2024, the Florida Supreme Court, which consists of seven justices, approved Amendment 3 to fully legalize non-medical marijuana sale and use throughout the Sunshine State.

The exterior of the Florida Supreme Court building

Source: Wikipedia

Of course, it is not law yet. Floridians will vote on Amendment 3 in November 2024, and the bill needs at least 60% support to pass.

Governor DeSantis Is Vehemently Against the Marijuana Bill

Florida’s controversial Governor, Ron DeSantis, appointed four of the state’s seven Supreme Court justices. So, he was wildly surprised when they passed the bill he has so vehemently spoken out against.

Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis speaks to an audience at an event

Source: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After the Supreme Court made its announcement, Gov. DeSantis told the press, “How the [Florida Supreme] Court let that language on the ballot, I will never ever understand.”

Gov. DeSantis Says the Law Will Allow Marijuana in Elementary Schools

Gov. DeSantis continued, “It does not do justice. I mean, the amendment language says that there can be no penalties for use or possession — civil, criminal, anything. I think it’s going to be very difficult for businesses to operate without that infringing on them.”

Two faceless kids with their backpacks at school

Source: Freepik

He then said, “I think you’re going to see people — you’ll be able to bring what, 20 joints to an elementary school. Is that really going to be good for the state of Florida? I don’t think so.”

“Marijuana Will Have an Interest in You”

The governor finished his speech by saying, “Even if you have no interest in marijuana, marijuana will have an interest in you.”

A woman smoking a marijuana joint outside

Source: Freepik

While Governor DeSantis was not shy in sharing his opinions on legalizing marijuana in the state of Florida, several of the so-called statements he made are being challenged by those who support the bill.


Marijuana Will Never Be Allowed in Schools in Florida

First and foremost, the claim that Amendment 3 will allow and lead to people bringing “20 joints to an elementary school” is simply unfounded.

Three signs, one that says “no smoking,” another says “no drugs,” and a third, “no alcohol” on a white brick wall

Source: @TenzEntertainment/Facebook

All schools in Florida and around the country have strict no-drug and alcohol policies. Just as students, teachers, employees, and parents are currently prohibited from bringing tobacco products, alcohol, or other drugs onto campus, marijuana will be absolutely forbidden.


Businesses Will Struggle to Operate Under the New Marijuana Legalization Legislation

Another of DeSantis’ comments that it will be “very difficult for businesses to operate” also lacks any tangible evidence. If the new law passes, certain establishments, known around the country as dispensaries, will apply for licenses to legally sell cannabis; no other businesses will be able to do so.

A sign for a marijuana dispensary showing a cannabis leaf

Source: iStock

Additionally, just like tobacco or alcohol, other businesses, like restaurants, event centers, or parks, will have strict rules on marijuana use. Just as Floridians cannot smoke a cigarette inside a bar, they won’t be able to smoke marijuana.


Amendment 3 Is Very Carefully Written

A spokesperson for Safe & Smart Florida, an advocacy group for Amendment 3, Morgan Hill, explained that the bill is very carefully written to ensure the governor’s fears never become a reality.

A security guard stands outside of a school, keeping watch on the students

Source: iStock

Hill explained, “The governor is remarkably wrong. Not only is Amendment 3 specifically for adults 21+, schools across the state and nation have drug-free policies. Regulated marijuana dispensaries have a strong history of prohibiting underage sale.”


State Regulations Will Be Strict

Hill continued, “Additionally, we have great confidence in the state Legislature and know they will enact appropriate regulations to prevent consumption in other public spaces, in the way that they have successfully prevented alcohol from being consumed in schools and elsewhere.”

A lawyer going over paperwork in her office

Source: Freepik

While Hill is arguably the most vocal supporter of the bill, she is not alone. In fact, a Fox News Poll showed that 66% of Floridians say they will be voting yes in November to legalize cannabis for adults in the state.


The Florida Supreme Court Also Approved Amendment 4

The debate regarding legal marijuana in Florida is far from over, but it’s not the only discussion going on across the Sunshine State. The very same day that the Florida Supreme Court approved Amendment 3, it also passed Amendment 4.

A protest at which people hold signs reading “Keep Abortion Legal”

Source: @MSNBC/YouTube

Amendment 4 will override the current six-week ban on abortion in Florida, instead instating a maximum of 24 weeks gestation. Gov. DeSantis is against this bill as well. However, 69% of Floridians say they support Amendment 4 and will vote in favor in November.


Will Marijuana Be Legal in Florida?

Although the polls show strong support for Amendments 3 and 4, the state will have to wait until November to see if either or both bills actually pass.

A man holds up his hands, on which he has written “Your Future In Your Hands”

Source: Freepik

If they do, Florida will follow 24 other states, including Colorado, California, Massachusetts, and many more, by making recreational marijuana legal for all residents over 21 years old as of May 6, 2025. But one thing if for sure: “20 joints” of marijuana will never be allowed in the state’s elementary schools.