Florida to Vote on Medical Marijuana in 2016 Ballot | New Times Broward-Palm Beach


It's Official: Floridians Can Vote on Medical Marijuana This November

In ten months, Florida voters can decide whether to legalize medical marijuana in the state. 

A group called United for Care has drafted a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would make it legal. For months, volunteers and workers have circulated petitions. They gathered 1 million signatures and yesterday announced that they essentially got the thumbs-up from the Florida Division of Elections to move forward, as the agency has verified that the necessary 683,149  signatures are legit and the measure can appear on the ballot. 

Assuming that the Division of Elections issues a formal certification February 2, the measure, called “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions," will appear on the ballot as Amendment 2. 

“Compassion is coming,” United for Care Chairman John B. Morgan said in a statement. “This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief. What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election.”

Twenty-three other states have already legalized medical marijuana. A similar measure was on the ballot in Florida 2014 but faced challenges and earned just 58 percent of the vote — shy of the 60 percent it needed to pass. Pollara pointed out that his group had an easier time this time around. "Pam Bondi didn’t challenge us this time. The court approved our language unanimously. The people of Florida are compassionate. We will win this election for the really sick people in our state... Every day, doctors prescribe dangerous, addictive, and potentially deadly narcotics to their patients but can’t even suggest the use of marijuana, which has never killed a person in thousands of years of human civilization. Very soon, Florida doctors will finally have that option.”

As his group explained in a statement: 
To be placed on the ballot, a constitutional amendment requires the signatures of 683,149 registered Florida voters as well as signatures representing 8% of the 2012 electorate in at least half of Florida’s 27 congressional districts. At the time of release, the Division of Elections was reporting that 692,981 total signatures and 14 congressional districts had qualified. In addition to the signature requirement, the Florida Supreme Court must opine on the constitutionality of the amendment language, which they did unanimously in a December opinion. A constitutional amendment requires a 60% vote in support to pass. The previous medical marijuana amendment, on the November 2014 ballot, received 58%, falling just short of passage.

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Deirdra Funcheon

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