When it comes to marijuana legalization, Florida is poised to let the people decide the issue of medical marijuana. The petition to allow a vote on the issue in the November, 2014 state elections appears to have gathered the required number of signatures.
As previously reported by The Inquisitr, recreational marijuana is being openly sold and enjoyed in Colorado while marijuana legalization advocates in Alabama are being arrested. Colorado has sold over $1 million of cannabis on the first day, but at the same time, people were spreading a hoax about 37 deaths being caused by marijuana overdoses.
The first attempt to legalize medical marijuana for those suffering from debilitating medical conditions was started by Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens, who introduced “The Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act.” If passed, it would have allowed Floridians to privately possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants. A poll conducted in the beginning of 2013 on behalf of People United for Medical Marijuana showed that 70 percent of Florida voters supported a plan to amend the state constitution in favor of marijuana legalization. Almost a year later, this percentage has increased to over 82% of Florida voters.
People United For Medical Marijuana is the same organization responsible for the Florida marijuana legalization petition. In order to sign it, you must be a Florida resident and mail a signed form to them. Even though that sounds like a hassle, Ben Pollara, campaign director for the marijuana legalization effort, says they’ve already collected signatures from about five percent of the Florida population:
“We have collected close to 900,000 and by Monday or Tuesday of next week, we should be close to 1 million. We are going to make it.”
Their staff is apparently very busy verifying the sudden deluge of signed petitions, which took off after Christmas. The proposed constitutional amendment only needs 683,149 valid voter signatures in order to get on the November ballot, but they’re hoping to get over 1,050,000 signed petitions since their rejection rate is around 29 percent.
In addition, Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has argued before the Florida Supreme Court that the ballot language is “confusing” and is attempting to derail the entire effort. State Solicitor General Allen Winsor argues, “You don’t even have to have a disease to get marijuana, the way this amendment is worded.” He also believes the amendment implies Florida is usurping federal law, which currently is strictly against marijuana usage in any form.
In order for the marijuana legalization effort in Florida to succeed, the petition will not only need to get on the ballot, but also receive at least 60 percent of the votes. If that happens, medical marijuana would become legal with doctor’s approval, and state-regulated dispensaries will be allowed.
The amendment specifically lists cancer, glaucoma and Parkinson’s disease and “conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.” But growing marijuana for recreational or personal medical use would still be illegal.