Amendment 2: Florida’s Quest to. . .
Florida’s Quest to Legalize Marijuana
By Jessica Travis on Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Florida elections took place last month on November 14th, 2014. Voters stood in line under the Florida sun waiting to cast their votes on issues ranging from electing the governor of the Sunshine State to selecting the Attorney General. Although several issue occupied the ballot boxes on Election Day, no other amendment garnered such anticipation as Amendment Two, known as Florida’s Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative.
Ever since the initiative was introduced to the State Legislature by the organization United for Care: People United for Medical Marijuana back in March of 2009, millions of Floridians have eagerly waited to cast their vote on this issue. The amendment would have allowed licensed physicians in Florida to prescribe medical marijuana to qualifying patients or personal caregivers without being subjected to criminal or civil liability under state law. Furthermore, Amendment Two would have permitted the use of registered medical marijuana treatment centers for patients and physicians to attend.
The amendment needed a 60 % vote in order for it to pass and become state law. Although Amendment 2 received over 3 million votes in the November Election, it ultimately only received 58% of the 60 % vote needed. With the bill being denied by Florida voters, medical marijuana continues to be illegal in the Sunshine State.
The denial of the bill has not stopped United for Care to continue their fight to legalize the substance in Florida for medical purposes. United for Care director, Ben Pollara, stated that his organization is “swiftly mobilizing a new petition push” to get medical marijuana on the next election ballot which will take place in 2016. He continued to specify that the organization’s lawyers are reworking Amendment Two’s language in order to strengthen certain areas of the bill. According to Pollara, Orlando attorney John Morgan will once again be the spokesperson for the Amendment and will lead the campaign to legalize medical marijuana.
While marijuana still remains illegal in Florida for both personal and medical uses, Florida lawmakers did pass a bill earlier this year allowing a very small group of severely ill patients to use marijuana medically. Back in June of 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed and passed the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014”, also known as the Charlotte’s Web law.
The passage of this legislation allows specific physicians to prescribe low levels of THC, a compound found in the marijuana plant, to only a specific group of patients. Under this law, patients suffering from certain cancers or a physical medical condition that causes continuous symptoms of seizures, such as epilepsy, or severe muscle spasms may
be prescribed a very low dose of THC, known as the Charlotte Web strand, if no other medical alternative is effective at treating the patient’s condition. This law was in part created to help sick children who suffered from these symptoms.
While the fight for the legalization of marijuana will continue in Florida, for the time being, it is still illegal. Whether the drug is being used for personal use or for a medical need, being busted for possessing marijuana carries serious consequences in Florida. If you have been charged with a crime relating to marijuana possession, it is important to contact a qualified criminal defense attorney who is knowledgeable in this aspect of the law.