Learn more about marijuana in Florida

On October 16, 1933, Victor Licata, a Florida resident, brutally murdered his parents, two brothers, and a sister with an axe while they slept. Long a sufferer of mental illness and nearly institutionalized by authorities before the murders, the 21-year-old Licata was framed as the poster boy of marijuana mania by the media, who called him an "addict" and used the murders to stoke fears about the unknown drug and its Hispanic user base. Even the 1936 propaganda film Reefer Madness was said to have been heavily influenced by the Licata murders.

But while prohibitionists used the Licata killings to spread misinformation about marijuana use and the psychology of its users in the following years to enact strict marijuana laws across the country, even decades later the Licata murders were still being referenced for political purposes, as seen in the United Nations' 1966 Bulletin of Narcotics report, "Marijuana and Crime," which relied on long debunked mischaracterizations of marijuana's influence on Licata and his crime.

It wasn't until March 20, 2014 that Florida marijuana laws were revised with the passage of CS/HB 843, also known as the Charlotte's Web measure, which allowed so called low-THC / high-CBD marijuana of 0.5 percent or less THC and more than 15 percent CBD for medicinal use.



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