How awesome is it to be a legislator in the Sunshine State this year? This awesome: You get to approve the legalization of adultery, cohabitation, and giving young children a strain of marijuana called Charlotte's Web, all in one afternoon sitting.

Florida legislators on a House criminal justice subcommittee last Thursday began discussing the particulars of a bill to reform state sentencing laws, and man, was it a trip, according to Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times political reporter Mary Ellen Klas:

First, the committee agreed to decriminalize co-habitation — a practice that had been outlawed in Florida law although rarely, if ever, enforced...

"Does anyone on the committee want to throw anyone in jail for cohabitating?,'' [committee chairman Matt] Gaetz asked. When no one responded, he concluded: "Seems to have pretty broad support."

Well, yeah. Hot damn! Let's have a lady friend over to the spacepad. But... what if you're already married?


Next, the committee turned to another seemingly outdated law — the state statute that makes it a second degree misdemeanor to commit adultery — and agree to decriminalize that as well.

"For the record I disapprove of adultery,'' said Rep. Ritch Workman, R-Melbourne, who originally sponsored the proposal. Gaetz noted that Workman had recently been divorced and remarried.

Yeah, Ritch, us too. Us too. Now, what about a little something to take this edge off?

Hope came Thursday for families whose children suffer from epileptic seizures, as the chairman of a key legislative committee agreed to file a bill to legalize the medical use of marijuana...

The families pleaded with lawmakers to legalize strains of marijuana such as "Charlotte's Web," saying it is their last, best hope of relieving the uncontrollable seizures in their medically fragile children...

"I'm moved by the compassion of all of this," said Rep. Charles Van Zant, a Palatka Republican who is a Baptist preacher and one of the most conservative members of the Legislature.

He opposes marijuana, he said, but when it comes to harnessing the herb to treat a specific malady, "I don't think this is substance abuse. I think it's using this wisely."

Say, this Florida place sounds hip and compassionate and lovely! What's the catch?


[Photo illustration by Adam Weinstein]