Tag Archives: amendment

Florida’s Slow-Moving Medical Marijuana Bill

 

It was in 2014, that Florida’s legislature passed a medical marijuana bill – please see my previous post on Florida’s medical marijuana bill.  And, to date, no one has been helped.

One of the things holding it up is the fact that only 5 growers would have been allowed to grow the specific Charlotte’s Web strain under the current law.

A bill proposed for the 2015 legislature session never got a hearing.

Another bill has been filed for the 2016 session.  Supposedly, that limit of number of growers would be removed; and currently, only cancer patients and seizure sufferers are covered.  The number of eligible diseases would be increased.  Those that would be added include:

  • HIV/AIDS
  • MS (multiple sclerosis)
  • Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS – amyotrophic lateral sclerosis)
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • or any terminal illness.

Of course, the thing bogging down the implementation of the current law is RED TAPE.  So, what else is new?  The Florida Department of Health is in the fray, and nursery owners’ litigation is attempting to position their companies in the small “pot” of eligibility.

As you can imagine, families of sick members are keenly frustrated and angry with these legislative shenanigans while their ill family members of all ages are crying out for relief from their debilitating, painful symptoms.

Will we ever see a medical marijuana bill coming out of the Florida legislature?  Last year’s legislature passed that 2014 bill, hoping to have the “topic” done with. The passage was timed to take place before the last mid-term election.  They believed there was a great possibility that the voters would pass the amendment to the Florida constitution.  As it turned out, the voters missed out on that passage by approximately 2% of the required 60%.

There is a difference between passing a bill into law, and having the voters pass an amendment to the state’s Constitution.  A big difference!  A law can be changed at the whim of the state’s legislature at any time; however, an amendment needs to be added by the state’s voters.  The Florida legislature would rather keep control of the medical marijuana “problem,” and be able to change at will.  That’s why that legislative body wanted so desperately, to be able to pass a law and not wait for a possible state constitutional change.

Things are looking very good for the passage of an amendment in next year’s election.  More on that in another post.

 

[ header image from http://www.freewebheaders.com ]

 

Supporters of Medical Marijuana in Florida Are Uniting Again-New Petition Is Available

John Morgan has done it again.  He is supporting the new push for placing Medical Marijuana on the ballot in 2016.

John Morgan

We need 700,000 signatures.  Please, if you are a registered voter in Florida, click on to this link for accessing the printable petition on United For Care.

The Florida Secretary of State has approved the new petition on Jan. 9th, 2015.

YOU MUST SIGN THE NEW PETITION EVEN IF YOU SIGNED THE PREVIOUS ONE .  We’re starting from scratch and have to get another 700,000 validated signatures.

The new petition more explicitly addresses key issues brought up by the opposition:
  • While parental consent requirements existed under state law and would have applied to the 2014 amendment, they are spelled out directly in the new petition.  Additional protections are added by requiring the Florida Department of Health to verify parental consent.
  • While the Florida Supreme Court rejected the argument that the 2014 amendment could be used for a non-debilitating condition, the new amendment explicitly articulates that conditions must be debilitating and more specifically rules out non-debilitating conditions.
  • Though nothing in the 2014 amendment immunized doctors negligently recommending medical marijuana, the new amendment more specifically states that negligence and malpractice are not subject to immunity under the law.
  • Under the 2014 amendment, the rules and procedures for approving caregivers were, by default, tasked to the Department of Health.  Under the 2016 amendment, the Department of Health is specifically required to establish qualifications and standards for caregivers, including the stated ability to conduct appropriate background checks.

3,370,761 people – almost 58% voted for medical marijuana in Florida in 2014. This total – half a million more than Gov. Rick Scott and almost 900k more than voted “no” – is clear proof that the people of Florida want a medical marijuana law.

If you want to help us, please forward this link to your family, friends and neighbors.

petition

United for Care

Let’s be clear: the ONLY reason medical marijuana didn’t pass in November is because one of the richest men in the world funded over $5 million dollars worth of false and misleading advertising on TV, Radio and the Internet, and we simply did not have enough resources to counter the lies with facts in enough time. Despite being outspent on advertising 3 to 1, we still wound up with one of the highest percentages of support for medical marijuana ever seen in the country.

Sadly, it was not enough – but 2016 promises greater turnout, more time to explain what the Amendment does and doesn’t do, and a head start of almost 3.4 million supporters.

We are going to pass a medical marijuana law in Florida by the end of 2016. It will happen one of two ways: legislative action or another constitutional amendment.

LEGISLATIVE ACTION:

Legislatively, Florida for Care is working to draft and lobby for acceptable medical marijuana legislation – and there are small signs of progress. This work will continue and ramp up as we get closer to the legislative session in the early Spring.

Legislators should take heed of the election results. However, realistically, we are skeptical. Many of the same legislators in control worked actively against medical marijuana in the past and were opposed to Amendment 2.

A NEW CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PUSH:

While we hope legislators will pass an acceptable bill – we can’t rely on that, and we are swiftly mobilizing a new petition push to get medical marijuana back on the ballot in 2016.

This new push should be easier in many ways. In 2014, we launched the petition only months prior to the deadline, and really were only able to kick it into high gear in the last two months. This time we will have 12 to 13 months to get signatures, and the benefit of massive amounts of exposure and momentum from the 2014 election. This momentum will create a lot of cost savings, as well. While we spent $4 million to get it on the ballot in 2014, we expect 2016 to be significantly less expensive – and allow us to budget a lot more for statewide advertising.

Likewise, we will have that much more time to talk to voters and correct the falsehoods that their advertising blitz conveyed. We know from our post-election research that the more people saw our ads, the more likely they were to vote for Amendment 2. Many people were misled by their scare tactics, and will learn that those “loopholes” they were told about weren’t actually real.

Furthermore, the presidential election in 2016 will drive even more voters to the polls, and arguably, a stronger and more engaged electorate than were interested in the governors race. We believe this broader swath of the public will be way more likely to pass medical marijuana, despite what we expect will be a new round of well-funded lies coming out of the other side.