Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 (2014)
|Status:||On the ballot|
- 1 Text of measure
- 2 Fiscal note
- 3 Support
- 4 Opposition
- 5 Media editorial positions
- 6 Polls
- 7 Path to the ballot
- 8 See also
- 9 Additional reading
- 10 External links
- 11 References
The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 is on the November 4, 2014 ballot in the state of Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment. The measure, upon voter approval, would legalize the cultivation, purchase, possession and use of marijuana to treat medical conditions when recommended by a licensed physician. The measure would also order the Florida Department of Health to register and regulate producers and distributions of medical marijuana and to issue identification cards to patients and caregivers utilizing marijuana.
The measure is sponsored by the People United for Medical Marijuana.
Text of measure
The official title reads as follows:
|“||Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions||”|
The official ballot text reads as follows:
|“||Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.||”|
- See also: Article X, Florida Constitution
|“||Increased costs from this amendment to state and local governments cannot be determined. There will be additional regulatory and enforcement activities associated with the production and sale of medical marijuana. Fees will offset at least a portion of the regulatory costs. While sales tax may apply to purchases, changes in revenue cannot reasonably be determined since the extent to which medical marijuana will be exempt from taxation is unclear without legislative or state administrative action.||”|
People United for Medical Marijuana is leading the campaign in support of the measure.
Multiple media outlets have predicted that the measure will aid Florida Democrats, especially in the state’s gubernatorial and lieutenant gubernatorial election, since the initiative may bring out young people, who tend to vote more Democratic.
- Florida Cannabis Action Network
- Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-27) said, "This 60's reefer madness attitude has to go away. We all know now that this is not a dangerous drug and it's actually much safer than other drugs."
- Kim Russell, founder of People United for Medical Marijuana, said that she began legalization efforts shortly after her father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. Some research claims that the drug can help alleviate the symptoms. In response to claims that politics is the motivating factor, Russell says, "It's freedom and it's also compassion."
- United for Care’s Ben Pollara, responding to criticisms about “other conditions” in the measure’s text, said, “Health care decisions should be made between a doctor and their patient, not by whether it is included or excluded on an arbitrary list drawn up by lawyers, politicians or bureaucrats.”
- NORML's Allen Saint Pierre criticized the Chamber of Commerce's stance as being anti-business, saying, "Somebody has to grow this stuff. Somebody has to transport it. Somebody to market it. Somebody has to package it and somebody has to sell it. One would think the Chamber of Commerce gets that and would be in favor of having more business, more revenue, etc., etc. All we’ve been arguing is to try to take an illegitimate, underground business and bring it above ground so they can become members of the Chamber of Commerce. That’s how twisted this all is."
As of December 31, 2013, People United for Medical Marijuana has received $2,438,415 in contributions to support the measure.
- Gov. Rick Soctt (R) said that he would not vote for the initiative, saying, "I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative. But, having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it."
- Attorney General Pam Bondi (R) filed a challenge to the Florida Supreme Court. She argued, “The proposal hides the fact that the Amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, allowing use for limitless 'other conditions' specified by any physician. With no 'condition' off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time, to anyone, of any age. But rather than tell voters of this extraordinary scope, the summary uses language to prey on voters' understandable sympathies for Florida's most vulnerable patients — those suffering 'debilitating diseases.’”
- Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-4), who has pushed for the legalization of the Charlotte’s Web strain of marijuana in the legislature, stated opposition to a “John Morgan financed” initiative because it would lead to a “[marijuana] dispensary on every corner” and anyone with “high anxiety will be begging doctors for a marijuana joint.”
- Jeff Kadel of the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition said, "With our history with the pill mills and the doctors, there's going to be no shortage of people writing these certificates for whatever medical reason is necessary."
Media editorial positions
- Bradenton Herald said, "This is about compassion for those whose medical conditions are not suitably eased by pharmaceuticals traditionally prescribed for cancer, multiple sclerosis and other grave diseases. Fears about drug abuse are indeed worrisome, but the amendment proposal charges the Legislature with adopting regulations that should bar that possibility. Should Floridians approve the November ballot issue, the state would become the first in the South and the 21st in the nation to legalize medical marijuana. The trend is clear. Cannabis has lost the demonization once embraced by a majority of Americans."
- Sun Sentinel said, "But no matter what happens in the election nine months from now, Florida lawmakers should act to legalize a new form of pot that offers no drug-induced high, but plenty of relief for seriously ill children. The time for medical marijuana, in one form or another, has come for Florida. This is not about legalizing recreational pot. Period. This is not about Florida becoming the first state in the South to legalize medical marijuana."
- See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures
|Florida Medical Marijuana Amendment (2014)|
|Poll||Support||Oppose||Undecided||Margin of Error||Sample Size|
|Quinnipiac University Poll|
11/12/2013 - 11/13/2013
|Public Policy Polling|
1/16/2014 - 1/21/2014
1/30/2014 - 1/31/2014
|Note: The polls above may not reflect all polls that have been conducted in this race. Those displayed are a random sampling chosen by Ballotpedia staff. If you would like to nominate another poll for inclusion in the table, send an email to email@example.com|
Path to the ballot
Supporters needed to collect a minimum of 683,149 valid signatures by February 1, 2014 in order to qualify the measure for the November 2014 ballot. People United for Medical Marijuana announced that the organization collected more than 1.1 million signatures on January 15, 2014. 786,371 valid signatures were recorded by the Division of Elections.
In Florida, all initiative ballot titles and summaries must be approved by the Florida Supreme Court prior to certification. The court either validates or invalidates the measure’s language. The Florida Supreme Court ruled on January 27, 2014, in a 4-3 decision, that the measure's text is valid, accurate and constitutional.
On December 5, 2013, the high court held a hearing on the measure's language.The initiative faced opposition from Attorney General Pam Bondi (R). She argued, "The proposal [language] hides the fact that the Amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, allowing use for limitless 'other conditions' specified by any physician. With no 'condition' off limits, physicians could authorize marijuana for anything, any time, to anyone, of any age. But rather than tell voters of this extraordinary scope, the summary uses language to prey on voters' understandable sympathies for Florida's most vulnerable patients — those suffering 'debilitating diseases." PolitiFact Florida rated her statement as "mostly true." Solicitor General Allen Winsor went as far as saying that "other conditions" may include people who "don't even have to have a disease." The Florida Legislature also filed an opinion against the initiative.
Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James Perry concluded that the amendment would be “accurately represented on the ballot.” Their affirmative ruling stated, "Voters are given fair notice as to the chief purpose and scope of the proposed amendment, which is to allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain ― debilitating medical conditions. We conclude that the voters will not be affirmatively misled regarding the purpose of the proposed amendment because the ballot title and summary accurately convey the limited use of marijuana, as determined by a licensed Florida physician."
Chief Justice Ricky Polston and Justices Jorge Labarga and Charles Canady all dissented against the amendment. All three dissenting judges were appointed by Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D), who supports the measure. Polston’s arguments were summarized in the ruling as: “(1) the summary “promises a narrow and limited marijuana program—the precise opposite of what the [a]mendment would deliver”; (2) the summary fails to disclose that physicians who authorize patients’ use of medical marijuana consistent with the amendment allegedly will receive broad tort and disciplinary immunity; and (3) the summary wrongly suggests that the amendment “allows” activities that are plainly illegal under federal law.”
- 2014 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Florida
- Florida 2014 ballot measures
- List of Florida ballot measures
- Florida Department of State, "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions", accessed January 14, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Constitutional Petition Form," accessed January 27, 2014
- Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research, "Financial Impact Statement", accessed January 27, 2014
- People United for Medical Marijuana
- Bloomberg, “Florida Pot Vote Seen Helping Democrat Become Governor”, January 14, 2014
- Reuters, “Analysis: Florida Democrats may get buzz from medical marijuana”, January 27, 2014
- Bloomberg, "Florida Pot Vote Seen Helping Democrat Become Governor", January 13, 2014
- Orlando Sun Sentinel, "'Glimmer of hope' for medical marijuana in Florida", December 30, 2013
- Miami Herald, "Poll: 82 percent favor medical marijuana, plurality support pot legalization", November 21, 2013
- Florida Cannabis Action Network
- News-Press, "Attorney John Morgan puts $1.8M into marijuana drive", January 13, 2014
- Design & Trend, "Marijuana 'Professor' Teaches Weed Classes In Florida In Preparation For Legalization," February 7, 2014
- WPTV, "Medical marijuana: Florida Supreme Court approves ballot amendment, voters to decide on marijuana", January 28, 2014
- Herald-Tribune, "New push in Florida for medical marijuana," July 8, 2013
- Tampa Bay Times, "PolitiFact Florida: Medical marijuana amendment has lenient 'condition' clause", January 5, 2014
- The Florida Times-Union, "Economic impact of medical marijuana in Florida an open question," February 1, 2014
- Florida Department of State: Division of Elections, "People United for Medical Marijuana: Campaign Finance Activity", accessed January 14, 2014
- Idaho Statesman, "Gov. Scott will vote against medical marijuana", January 21, 2014
- The News Herald, "Medical marijuana case headed to Florida Supreme Court", December 5, 2013
- The Gainesville Sun, "Andrew Skerritt: Good news for medical marijuana supporters", January 20, 2014
- Bradenton Herald, "Florida pols look out of touch in medical marijuana", January 13, 2014
- The Tampa Tribune, "Statewide vote puts Florida at forefront of marijuana debate", January 27, 2014
- WTSP, "Medical marijuana debate to be held at University of Tampa," February 20, 2014
- Bradenton Herald, "Good wins for medical marijuana, land conservation: both FL constitutional amendment proposals make ballot", January 29, 2014
- Sun Sentinel, "Florida medical marijuana: Legalize one way or another", January 28, 2014
- Sunshine State News, "United For Care Gathers 1.1 Million Signatures for Marijuana Petition", January 15, 2014
- Orlando Sentinel, "Medical marijuana amendment gets green light from Supreme Court", January 27, 2014
- Tampa Bay Times, "Florida Supreme Court justices question marijuana ballot language", December 5, 2013
- PolitiFact Florida, "Pam Bondi says amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical marijuana states", December 17, 2013
- Florida Supreme Court, "Decision on SC13-2006 and SC13-2132," accessed January 29, 2014
<ref>tag; no text was provided for refs named
Cite error: Invalid
- CBS Miami, "Florida Supreme Court Clears Way For Medical Marijuana On Ballot", January 27, 2014
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