Marijuana

Florida Voters Will Get Another Chance to Legalize Medical Marijuana This Fall

A narrower version of a 2014 initiative qualifies for this year's ballot.

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Jacob Sullum

In 2014 a Florida ballot initiative allowing medical use of marijuana fell two points short of the 60 percent vote required for a constitutional amendment. That initiative's supporters are trying again, and yesterday they announced that they had gathered enough valid signatures to qualify their measure, once again known as Amendment 2, for the November ballot.

"This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief," said Orlando lawyer John Morgan, who is once again chairing and financing the initiative campaign. "What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election." A 2014 law authorizes distribution of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis extracts to qualified patients, but that system does not include any other marijuana products, and it is limited to patients with cancer, epilepsy, or conditions causing "seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms."

Amendment 2 would allow "individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician" to obtain marijuana from dispensaries regulated by the state Department of Health. It defines "debilitating medical conditions" as "cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." That definition is more restrictive than the 2014 text, which referred simply to "other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." Opponents of the measure argued that "any condition from back pain to trouble sleeping" might qualify, so "anyone who wants pot will get it." Morgan says "our language is stronger than in 2014."

If Amendment 2 passes, it will make Florida the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana. Last March a Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters put support for medical marijuana at 84 percent. But early polls last time around found similarly strong support, and the actual yes vote was just 58 percent.

Opponents of Amendment 2—who in 2014 warned that legalizing medical marijuana would lead to pot-assisted rape, among other horrors—think they can accomplish something similar this year. "This so-called 'medical marijuana' amendment is just like the one voters defeated last election," says No on 2 spokesman Tre Evers. "It legalizes pot smoking in Florida under the cynical guise of helping sick people. Marijuana is not medicine; it is an illegal and dangerous drug. The fact is that wherever pot smoking has been legalized under the guise of 'medical marijuana' it has proven to be a farce, a ruse, de facto legalization."

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  1. This violates double jeopardy. The people can’t keep trying at the polls those poor drug warriors over and over.

  2. Compromise. Those who vote for it, can use it. Those who vote against it, can’t.

  3. WHO. FUCKING. CARES?!?!? Until the Federal FUCKING Government de-schedules marijuana as a class 1 narcotic, this doesn’t make a fucking LICK of difference because you still have to live in fear of armed agents of the state showing up and ruining your life at any time…

    1. For my embarrassing long lifetime, I’ve watched and warned against the uncountable slippery slopes and “camel with its nose in the tent” progress that the Left has engaged in. I’ve watched a pretty free country transform into something which some sober people label as “fascist” or a “police state” without irony. I say it’s about time freedom fighters use the same tactic — it certainly seems to work a lot better than whatever it is we’ve been doing.

    2. You’re right, it’s still a concern – but the best way to destroy that status quo is a demonstration that citizens nationwide want legal marijuana, not just enclaves in some hippie state. Every new state deregulation helps.

    3. With every state that Re-Legalizes Cannabis the sensible Americans are sending a strong message to the Feds that it’s time to end the lies and Legalize.

  4. But early polls last time around found similarly strong support, and the actual yes vote was just 58 percent.

    I heard a lot of pot-smokers lacked the mental focus to make sure they marked their ballot completely and correctly, lots of mistaken votes for Pat Buchanan and hanging chads, a lot of suspicious votes coming out of Law-N-Order precincts, a lot of the absentee ballots weren’t counted from the potheads confused on what day the voting takes place. How many recounts did they have on that 58 percent support?

  5. “Last March a Quinnipiac University poll of Florida voters put support for medical marijuana at 84 percent. But early polls last time around found similarly strong support, and the actual yes vote was just 58 percent.”

    That’s interesting. I thought conventional wisdom was that polls undercounted the hip, young kids because they were available only through their cell phones, etc. So, either conventional wisdom is wrong, or the hip, young kids don’t want medical marijuana.

  6. “The fact is that wherever pot smoking has been legalized under the guise of ‘medical marijuana’ it has proven to be a farce, a ruse, de facto legalization.”

    And also, pretty much completely innocuous! Good verbal feint there, pal, but arguing against legalization by arguing against the method of getting it legalized isn’t a very good argument.

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