Florida For Care, the group that put together a bipartisan Blue Ribbon Committee to dictate regulatory standards had the medical marijuana amendment passed back in November, is hosting a couple of conferences they've dubbed "The Future of Medical Marijuana in Florida."
With Amendment 2 defeated in the polls in November, the group is moving forward to start, as they put it, "strategizing and planning in advance of Florida's Legislative Session."
The next legislative session is scheduled for March.
The two-day conference will be held Tuesday and Wednesday at the Bayfront Ballwoon in the InterContinental Hotel in Downtown Miami. Tuesday features the opening networking cocktail reception beginning at 5:00 p.m. The meetings and briefings will be on Wednesday, starting at 8:00 a.m. going until 4:00 p.m.
Some might say it's a bit early to get back on the medical marijuana bandwagon weeks after it was defeated, but Florida For Care is looking to try and get a jump on things. Moreover, United For Care, the advocacy group that championed Amendment 2 and was backed by Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, vowed to get the initiative back on the ballot in 2016.
"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," United For Care campaign manager Ben Pollara wrote in an email the day after Amendment 2 was shot down at the polls. "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."
United For Care is planning to get another petition push in the coming weeks. The petition will focus on getting the amendment back on the ballot for the 2016 election.
As for Florida for Care, the two-day conference is all about lobbying interest and getting medical marijuana legislation back on the table. Of course, those who are in the position to control legislation are the same that fought against medical marijuana in the first place. But this conference and the coming petition from United For Care is a start -- or re-start, if you will.
The initiative will again have a steep hill to climb. But the 2016 election will be when voters will decide on who the next President of the United States will be. Presidential elections are when the most people come to the polls. Amendment 2 wasn't helped by a poor turnout to the polls. Voters generally don't show the same enthusiasm voting for a governor than they do a president. So the numbers could skew medical marijuana's way come November of 2016.
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.
"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," Pollara says in his email.
You can go here for more information on the Florida For Care conference.