In 2014, Florida seemed to be set to be the first state in the south to allow medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions. Passage seemed assured, with early polls showing a 70+ percent approval among Florida voters.
The actual election results didn’t quite pan out that way – Amendment 2 received 58% of the vote, which is a clear majority. However, constitutional amendments in the state require 60% for passage.
Despite this disappointment, the effort to legalize medical marijuana in the Sunshine State isn’t going away, and will certainly come back.
The main financial supporter of 2014’s Amendment 2, Orlando trial attorney John Morgan, has restarted a new petition campaign. From the New York Times:
Morgan, who spent about $4 million on his United for Care campaign last year, said he has revised the ballot language to close some of the loopholes in the failed version, which were seized by opponents to raise doubts.
The new language makes it clear that minors may not obtain marijuana prescriptions without parental consent, Morgan told reporters on a conference call
Aside from this development, a Republican senator from St. Petersburg has filed a bill in the Florida Legislature to establish a medical marijuana program in Florida. The Legislature passed, and Governor signed, a bill in 2014 to allow a specific strain (Charlotte’s Web) used to treat kids with debilitating seizures.
The bill from Sen. Jeff Brandes is significant in that it’s a Republican introducing it explains an article from the Orlando Weekly.
The bill, SB 528, entitled “The Florida Medical Marijuana Act” will allow:
Registered patients and designated caregivers to purchase, acquire, and possess medical-grade marijuana subject to specified requirements; allowing a cultivation and processing licensee, employee or contractor to acquire, cultivate, transport, and sell marijuana under certain circumstances; allowing a retail licensee to purchase, receive, possess, store, dispense, and deliver marijuana under certain circumstances; specifying registration requirements for a patient identification card, etc.”
Comments about the proposal are largely positive, but some are concerned Brandes’ bill leaves some important conditions out. However, it is encouraging to see the momentum continue on this issue in Florida.