Yes on 2 is back: Florida’s finally going to give this weed thing another go. In 2014, the medical marijuana measure was short of the 60 percent approval rate that was needed to carry the relevant amendments; “[j]ust short,” according to the Associated Press. According to The Cannabist, over 692,821 signatures have been collected, and the organizers, United for Care, predict that the presidential election will bring more people out to vote in general. The Amendment is known as Amendment 2, holding onto the same name to keep voters familiar with it. The original measure only failed by 2.38 percent, so United for Care is sure it will pass muster in 2016. Explicit language directed at minor consumption of medical marijuana has been added by John Morgan, the measure’s largest donor, in order to prevent underage consumption by law.
The Florida legislature has already approved the use of “non-euphoric” marijuana for seizure treatment, but regulations for production and distribution have gotten a bit behind – the product is still not available to the patients it was voted in to help, says Ben Pollara of United for Care. John Morgan is a personal injury lawyer whose brother uses cannabis to control his quadriplegic muscle spasms; Morgan has spent over $6 million in the legalization effort.
One of the main complaints about the first ballot initiative in 2014 was that it “had too many loopholes,” according to the Miami Herald. Morgan noted, “I know how to do this. We made a lot of mistakes and we won’t make them this time”; the new Amendment specifies a requirement of parental consent for children who receive medical marijuana, and notes that the only recipients must be those with debilitating medical conditions who are recommended by a licensed medical physician. The Florida Department of Health would also reserve the right to deny caregiver status to felons, as well.
The main group against legalization for medical marijuana in Florida is Drug Free Florida, for which Mel Sembler (a former Republican financier) spent more money and created more advertising in 2014 than the pro-cannabis groups. In an apparent contradiction, Calvina Fay of Drug Free Florida stated that her group is very much in favor of Marinol, a marijuana derivative, but believes that smoking marijuana is an unsafe method of patient consumption. Following the “Charlotte’s Web” law that was passed in Florida, Morgan hopes the Florida Legislature will see the error of their ways and approve medical marijuana this time around.