Congressman and gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist (D-FL-13) said earlier this week that if he is elected governor, he vowed to legalize recreational marijuana and expunge criminals with marijuana convictions.
The announcement came as part of the unveiling of Crist’s “Justice for All” criminal justice reform plan, which also included some gun control policies. Crist said the plan is for the communities who have felt left behind by the government.
In the newest stage of the plan’s release, Crist said it is time for Florida to catch up with the rest of the United States regarding marijuana legalization.
“We need to finally catch up to the will of the American people with marijuana legalization,” said Crist. “Florida cannot continue to stick its head in the sand when it comes to building a better future for our children and neighbors and dismantling the systems and sentencing laws that dehumanize our neighbors.”
Several critics have pointed out Crist’s justice reform plan is starkly different from his policy positions when he was a Republican and was previously known as “Chain Gang Charlie,” the moniker given to Crist following his support for revitalizing chain-gang work crews in Florida’s prison system in the 1990s.
Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, being one of the critics and one of Crist’s Democratic primary opponents, said she is glad Crist has changed his mind on the policy issues but insinuated his record is untrustworthy.
“Imitation is flattery, but records are records,” Fried said on Twitter. “People went to jail because Republicans like Charlie Crist supported and enforced racist crime bills. Glad he’s changed his mind, but none of those people get those years back.”
Imitation is flattery, but records are records. People went to jail because Republicans like @CharlieCrist supported and enforced racist marijuana crime bills. Glad he's changed his mind, but none of those people get those years back.
— Nikki Fried (@NikkiFried) October 14, 2021
The part of his plan calling for gun control are policy issues becoming more common among self-described progressive candidate, including universal background checks and bans on so-called “large capacity magazines” and “assault weapons.”
“These simple common-sense changes can go a long way to reforming our broken system and creating a better future for Florida and all of our fellow Floridians,” Crist said.
During the announcement, Crist indicated confidence at the prospect of defeating Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the tide is turning against the GOP.
“We’re going to beat the guy,” Crist said. “He’s gonna go down. People do not like what he’s doing.”
– – –