Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried has taken another well-placed dig at former Republican Governor-turned-Democratic Rep. Charlie Crist over his changing position on the legalization of marijuana.
After it was reported that Rep. Crist wants to legalize marijuana and doing away with past pot possession convictions, Commissioner Fried, who is running against Rep. Crist in the 2022 Democratic gubernatorial primary race.
"Imitation is flattery, but records are records. People went to jail because Republicans like @CharlieCrist supported and enforced racist marijuana crime bills,” tweeted Fried. Glad he's changed his mind, but none of those people get those years back.
This is not the first time Fried contrasted the position on an issue by former Republican Crist to the now Democrat lawmaker.
Just last month, Fried jabbed at Crist’s past flip-flop on Abortion when she solidified her “pro-Choice” stance while painted Crist as having “sacrificed women’s health for political gain” for opposing abortions.
Fried also shared a 2010 video where then-Governor Crist made the case for his firm conservative beliefs.
"I am pro-life, I am pro-gun, and I am pro-family, and I am anti-tax and I always have been," said Crist days before leaving the Republican Party and becoming an Independent candidate for the U.S. Senate.
Now Fried is capitalizing on Crist’s latest flip-flop and is fundraising off of his latest change in policy, emphasing Crist’s “Republican” past.
“Earlier today, Charlie Crist announced his proposal to reform marijuana sentencing laws in Florida and legalize adult-use marijuana.
Here’s the problem: when Charlie was Florida’s Republican Governor, he implemented many of those laws in the first place.
He ignored pressure from Republican legislators who wanted to reform Florida’s harsh sentencing laws, signed a new law making it a felony to grow more than 25 marijuana plants, and outlawed the sale of drug paraphernalia.
The result? Thousands of people went to jail for nonviolent crimes. The laws--like most drug laws--disproportionately harmed Black Floridians."
Fried’s fundraising ask concludes by her stating that she has consistently called for the abolition of these pot laws, and would “legalize adult-use” of marijuana” if she becomes governor.
I’ve been consistent on this issue for my entire career. As Commissioner of Agriculture, we’ve legalized hemp and fought restrictions on Florida’s medical marijuana program. And when I’m Governor, we’re going to legalize adult-use marijuana.
In late 2020, Crist voted in favor of ending the federal prohibition of marijuana.
“We know that people across racial and income levels use marijuana at the same rate. And yet, for decades, it's been poor, Black, and/or Hispanic folks targeted for prison on marijuana charges,” said Rep. Crist. “That tells me that marijuana has been legal now for a while if you had the right skin tone or the right paycheck. It's not fair, it’s unjust, and it's been hurting communities of color and poor folks for too long. Cannabis prohibition also keeps medical cannabis out of the hands of veterans in need. That's why state after state is approving legalization, and why the federal government should follow their lead and work to right the wrongs of the past.”
This is a far cry from Governor Charlie Crist of 2008, where he told a reporter that he favored Florida’s tough drug laws, and then signed the “Bong Bill” into law a couple of years later.
The bill Crist signed made it illegal to sell pipes and bongs at most “head shops” around the state.