Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis promised Thursday that his state would deem possessing fentanyl or other drugs made to resemble candy a first-degree felony, and send those targeting children with such fentanyl to prison for life.
DeSantis said during a “Preserving Law & Order in Florida” press conference that the state’s government would “make it a first-degree felony to possess, sell or manufacture fentanyl or other controlled substances to look like candy” and punish targeting that type of fentanyl to children with a mandatory life sentence and $1 million fine. He also pledged to add $20 million of local support funding for law enforcement to stop fentanyl’s illicit spread in his upcoming budget proposals.
“They will jam fentanyl into almost anything nowadays,” DeSantis said. “So they’ll actually do it and make it look like candy, that’s been dubbed ‘rainbow fentanyl.”
The governor referenced Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents at Arizona’s Nogales port of entry seizing more than 250,000 fentanyl pills, many of them multicolored and resembling candy, within two days in August. CBP Area Port Director Michael Humphries had predicted those pills “could be the start of a trend with Transnational Criminal Organizations targeting younger users.”
“This is really targeting our youngest and most vulnerable kids,” DeSantis said Thursday. “This is not something that you can do and maybe you have some side effects but you get over it. The lights can go out with these fentanyl overdoses, and the chance of a fatality is much higher than with many other drugs.”