Fact Check

Did Florida Pass a Bill Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana?

A fake news item falsely led social media users to believe that Florida became one of the states in which recreational marijuana is now legal.

Published Mar 23, 2018

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A new law in Florida legalized recreational use of marijuana.

In March 2018, social media users shared a link to what appeared to be an ABC News article with the headline, "Florida Passes Bill Legalizing Recreational Use of Marijuana":

Orlando, Fl. – Weed smokers rejoice, The state of Florida can now be added to the growing list of US states that have past bills to legalize the use marijuana.

The bill to legalize marijuana for medical and recreational use in the state was first presented at the state capital back in July is expected to be in place by Easter. Lawmakers have finally given the go-ahead citing it will jump-start the economy and create new jobs.

“This bill is so much more than legalizing marijuana—it’s about legalizing opportunity and prosperity,” said Democratic leader Janet Cruz. “The state budget was due two weeks ago, and Florida simply can’t afford to wait any longer. We deserve a real plan to create new jobs and stimulate our lagging economy, and that’s what this bill is.”

Although Florida Democrat Janet Cruz is real, the quote and legislation are not. The item was hosted on ABCNews-us.com, a fake news site designed to trick readers into believing it was affiliated with ABC News (the actual domain for that outlet is ABCnews.go.com.)

ABCNews-us.com previously advanced a death hoax involving Pamela Anderson, as well as a shocking and false claim about a funeral home and "sex dolls."

As of 2018, recreational marijuana use is legal in the states of Washington, Colorado, California, Oregon, Alaska, Nevada, Massachusetts, Vermont, and Maine. However, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Kim LaCapria is a former writer for Snopes.