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Sunday, June 24 2018 @ 10:05 PM EDT

Medical Marijuana: Will Florida be Ready for 2016?

SWFL Health and Well-Being

Heading into the November 2014 election, Florida's medical marijuana proponents felt confident that passage of Amendment #2 was almost a foregone conclusion. While the vast majority of the state's population voted for Amendment #2, the 58% majority that it did receive wasn't enough for passage. It seems that during the term of a previous Florida's governor, an amendment that forced legislation to receive at least a 60% majority for passage was adopted. Given the 2014 failure of Amendment #2 in Florida, medical marijuana's biggest supporters have regrouped and are attempting to address issues associated with objections to the legislation's passage. Given the litany of objections to Amendment No.2, and the determination of Florida's medical marijuana supporters, only one question remains. Can new legislation that satisfies opponents regain the necessary support by election time?

 


Medical marijuana is supported by numerous organizations and agencies within the state, but the state's biggest advocates have invested millions to garner support. Enter Mr. John Morgan of the law firm Morgan and Morgan. No single individual has been a more outspoken proponent for legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Florida! Of course, given his firm's aggressive TV and radio advertising, his visibility on the issue has been quite extensive. Recently, Mr. Morgan began the process of filing the necessary documentation, assuring that a revised initiative is ready for the 2016 ballot! However, Mr. Morgan is far from being alone in his pursuit to make medical marijuana a reality for Florida.
 

Medical marijuana is presently legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The outlook for additional states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes is quite promising. Since the failure of Amendment #2, Florida's legislators have begun the task of drafting a more effective and comprehensive bill with the clear intent of closing loopholes that were seen as flaws within Amendment #2. In January, Florida Senator Jeff Brandes, a Republican from St. Petersburg, introduced a bill that would allow for a doctor's recommendation to suffice for grounds to prescribe medical pot to patients who suffered from certain medical conditions. It, as well, would necessitate that by July 1, 2016, I.D. cards allowing for use of medical marijuana would need to begin being issued by the State of Florida. An article published in the Tampa Tribune® dated February 02, 2016 called Senator Brandes' bill "an excellent report on why legislative action is a better than a constitutional amendment", it also stated that the bill needed to better define what are termed "qualifying illnesses".


While the issue of exactly who will be allowed to produce medical marijuana in Florida is expected to be a battle, the Florida Pot Committee, a group of 12 individuals, is largely staffed by those who stand to make a great deal of money from the cultivation and sale of a non-psychoactive variety of cannabis. These selected producers would also be able to extract an oil, and sell to patients possessing a valid state-issued Marijuana I.D. card.


As the 2016 general election moves closer, Floridians who support medical marijuana's legalization have good reason to be hopeful. The number of state medical societies, newspaper editorial boards, prominent physicians and celebrities who have spoken out in support of medical marijuana continues to grow. According to United for Care®, a national medical marijuana advocacy, *Florida's Amendment 2 received a higher percentage of the vote than the last 6 elected governors, including Jeb Bush's 2001 landslide.



 

 Sources: NORML® (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) - http://norml.org/states/fl

                United for Care® - http://unitedforcare.org/ 

                *Politifact® - A service of the Tampa Bay Times - http://politifact.com

                Tampa Tribune - http://tbo.com/

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