Medical Marijuana Back on Florida. . .

Posted by Jessica Travis in Criminal Law Blog

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Medical Marijuana Back on Florida Ballot in 2016

By Jessica Travis on Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Just two years after its defeat, Medical Marijuana has made its way back onto the Florida ballot. The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative (Amendment 2) will be on the ballot on November 8, 2016. Last time Medical Marijuana was on the Florida ballot, the proposed amendment failed to get the 60% approval vote required for State Constitutional Amendments. In 2014 Medical Marijuana received 57.62% vote in favor of the amendment, missing the required 60% by just 2.38%.

Those in favor of legalizing the use of medical marijuana by individuals with debilitating medical conditions argue that marijuana has far fewer serious side effects than many prescription drugs currently on the market. They feel that medical marijuana should be legal, given that other drugs prescribed by physicians, such as morphine, have a far higher dependence rate and risk of overdose than medical marijuana. Those in favor argue that legalizing medical marijuana is

about compassion for patients suffering from glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, HIV/AIDS and other debilitating illnesses.

The new initiative contains explicit language clarifying areas that opponents of medical marijuana were concerned about two years ago. The 2016 version contains language that will require written parental consent before a physician can prescribe medical marijuana to a minor. The new language also does not require correctional institutions or detention facilities to provide medical marijuana to inmates.

The 2016 version also further explains the “other conditions” mentioned in the 2014 version. Amendment 2 will allow the medical use of medical marijuana for debilitating diseases including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, PTSD, and Parkinson’s. Amendment 2 further defines the “other conditions” to include “medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable” to those mentioned above.

To view the full text of the proposed amendment, go to: http://www.unitedforcare.org/ballot_language_1

In Orlando, the city commission recently voted to approve a new ordinance that will decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. This ordinance will take effect Oct. 1, 2016, and will make the possession of 20 ounces or less of marijuana a misdemeanor, where first time offenders will face a $100 fine, second time offenders will face a $200 fine, and the third and subsequent offenses will result in a mandatory court hearing.

Currently, and until the new ordinance goes into effect in October, marijuana possession of 20 ounces or less carries a punishment of up to a year in jail and a fine up to $1000. This new ordinance is only for

the city of Orlando, and therefore will only be applicable to a limited geographic area. Marijuana possession will still be a crime and can still result in an arrest and criminal prosecution. Possession of more than 20 ounces of marijuana will still be considered a third degree felony and could result in a maximum sentence of five years in prison.

It is important to remember that possession of marijuana, in any amount, whether for medical or recreational purposes is a crime. If you have been arrested and charged with a crime relating to marijuana, it is important that you contact an experienced criminal defense attorney with knowledge and experience in this aspect of the law.

co-authored by Patricia Blotzer

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