Looking back on this midterm election season, big moves were made by players on both sides of the medical marijuana fence in Florida. One of the more memorable moves came from the women advocating for the right to use medical marijuana who staged the flashing, removing their shirts on the beach to reveal “Vote Yes on 2″ bumper stickers taped to their breasts. On the other side of the fence, the triumphant marijuana opposition campaign flooded air waves with frightening (yet comical) television advertisements that were eventually taken off the air for being filled with false information.
Even though the medical marijuana amendment was supported by fifty-seven percent of Floridians, the bill needed at least sixty percent to be approved. A loss that would have been a win in any other state is an especially tough one to take, and John Morgan, the man who contributed the largest portion of funding to the pro-marijuana campaign in Florida, is not taking this one sitting down.
Morgan has already committed to trying again in 2016. Morgan told the Orlando Sentinel that he does not trust state legislators to responsibly shape the medical marijuana bill, therefore he would much prefer it be on the ballot through another amendment drive. That is exactly what state legislators do not want to happen because it is a tricky process for them to change voter ballot initiatives than it is for them to shape and create the bill in house. If there is talk of medical marijuana in the state legislature, it is regulated by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli. Crisafulli told the Orlando sentinel,
“I’m one of those that’s ‘never say never.’ But the legislative process is where that issue should be dealt with, instead of a ballot initiative.”
It will be interesting to see whether or not the state legislature chooses to act on medical marijuana when it reconvenes in the spring of 2015. To shape a medical marijuana bill, or wait to see what happens with the voter initiative in 2016- that is the question. It looks like no matter which way it happens, Floridians should, at the least, expect legal medical marijuana within the next two years. If legislators wait until 2016, they may find themselves face to face with a different battle against legal recreational marijuana.
photo credit: Mint Press News