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Fact-Checking Marijuana Law Claims About Charlie Crist


The race for Florida governor is heating up.

Gov. Rick Scott's likely Democratic challenger Charlie Crist released his first TV ad this week. It's called "Sunshine" -- and its focus is definitely positive.

But mud is being slung in the campaign.

Though, sometimes, it's hard to figure out who is slinging it.

For instance -- a radio ad has been running this week that accuses Crist of being in the pocket of the National Rifle Association -- and that he supported sentencing guidelines that appeared to impact African Americans unfairly.

The group that's running the ads is called Progressive Choice Florida and nobody knows exactly whose side they're on.

"The Bottom line is that because of their tax status, we really don't know who they are exactly," said Josh Gillin of PolitiFact Florida. "The contact information is a woman out of Baltimore, a business woman. Some people say that they're actually a Republican-funded group that has been attacking Crist ahead of the primary. They claim to be a very liberal group that prefers Nan Rich over Charlie Crist."

Whoever they are, here's what Progressive Choice Florida said about Crist in a radio ad. They claim that he signed "the nation's harshest marijuana laws."

"We rated that mostly false," Gillin said. "In this case there were a couple of laws that Charlie Crist signed (when he was Republican governor of Florida). There was one in 2008 that really cracked down on grow houses. And there was one in 2010 that really restricted what you could sell at head shops where you buy pipes and bongs and things like that.

"But, Florida -- for a very long time -- has had a reputation as a very strict state when it comes to marijuana laws and a lot of those laws were in place before Crist came into office. When it comes down to whether he was in charge of making them the harshest -- even how those are measured as being harsh -- that's not so clear cut so we rated it mostly false."

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