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Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

Dear Stoner,

We understand how you're feeling. Dark and formidable challenges lay before you. While the rest of the nation -- especially Washington and Colorado -- takes strides to normalize diplomatic relations with marijuana, Florida has moved in the other direction.

Yesterday was the most recent declaration of war, but it wasn't the first. Last year, the state Legislature shot down a proposal for medical marijuana.

And there's much, much more.

All of it drives home one inescapable conclusion: Florida is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State.

Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

5. Florida leads nation in indoor growing operations More than California, which has twice the population and girth, Florida in 2010 had more indoor marijuana cultivation operations than any other state. Roughly 820 operations were sniffed out that year.

Most of the busts go down in South Florida, the DEA says, inside what it refers to as the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. Because we South Floridians run our AC all year 'round, the police aren't able to discern suspiciously high electrical bills, which normally highlight where da weed at. This attracts many folk looking to grow herb.

 

Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

4. Only one state gets the designation of "rampant" Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration said marijuana grown across South Florida is -- get this -- "rampant."

(Bam! Suck on that, California.)

More than 770 marijuana cultivation sites were discovered in 2012 -- and nearly 40,000 plants were destroyed, according to this year's ominously titled report, "Florida's Domestic Marijuana Eradication Program."

The "hotbed" for outdoor growth, the report says, is in north central Florida.

Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

3. More Rastafarians live here than anywhere else in America Anywhere you go in South Florida -- and even up to the northern frontiers -- the Rastafarians chill, listen to music, and pray. There are many reasons this is a bad ass religion, but quite possibly the biggest one is that smoking that herb is a part of their religion.

What's more, even the presence of legislation that makes marijuana illegal constitutes discrimination against the Rasta nation. (Even if, in 1988, U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno said Rastas don't have a religious right to smoke pot and violate drug laws.)

But that doesn't mean they'll stop. Far from it. Pot doesn't kill the mind like alcohol and other drugs, they say -- it opens it. So legalize it.

 

Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

2. A district judge was caught smoking weed here At 2 p.m. on a Sunday in March 2007, three officers were walking around Stanley Goldman Memorial Park in Hollywood when they noticed a man smoking a joint. He was sitting on the ground next to a tree.

"They said they smelled a very strong odor of what they found to be marijuana," a police spokesperson said at the time. "They followed the smell to a gentleman sitting under a tree. He was actively smoking the marijuana cigarette as they approached him."

That gentleman turned out to be Broward County District Judge Lawrence Korda. And petty criminals across the state did rejoice.

Korda, who helped decide the paternity battle over Anna Nicole Smith's daughter, was charged with a misdemeanor. And resigned.

Five Reasons Florida Is America's Most Infamous Marijuana State

1. The bong ban Though the legislation itself is wildly vague -- can you still buy bongs on the Internet? -- the fallout could be extreme. Already, the bill to ban retail sale of bongs breezed through the state House yesterday. Next, the Senate. And if that happens, the days of bongs in Florida are over.

So much for being called the Sunshine State.

Follow Terrence McCoy on Twitter




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