Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, Amendment 2 (2014)
- 1 Text of measure
- 2 Background
- 3 Effects on gubernatorial election
- 4 Support
- 5 Opposition
- 6 Media editorial positions
- 7 Polls
- 8 Reports and analyses
- 9 Path to the ballot
- 10 Related measures
- 11 See also
- 12 Additional reading
- 13 External links
- 14 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 medical marijuana. Specifically, the measure would guarantee the following:
- That medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law.
- That a licensed physician is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions for issuing medical marijuana to a person diagnosed with a "debilitating medical condition" under state law.
- That registered medical marijuana treatment centers are not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under state law.
The measure defines a "debilitating medical condition" as cancer, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, hepatitis C, HIV, AIDS, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease "or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."
The Florida Department of Health would be responsible for regulating medical marijuana. The department would issue and regulate patient identification cards and personal caregiver identification cards, develop procedures related to medical marijuana treatment centers and institute regulations defining reasonable amounts of marijuana for medical use. The department would be required to protect the confidentiality of all patients.
The constitutional amendment contains six limitations on how the amendment's language can be construed:
- The amendment does not “affect laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana.”
- The amendment does not authorize “the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.”
- The amendment does not allow for the “operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.”
- The amendment does not require accommodations for medical marijuana use “in any place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.”
- The amendment does not require “any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.”
- The amendment does not require “the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.”
Supporters of Amendment 2 say the measure will help people with debilitating medical conditions. Opponents, on the other hand, argue the amendment is “de facto legalization" of marijuana.
For a referred amendment to win in Florida, it must win a supermajority vote of 60 percent of those voting on the question, according to Section 5 of Article XI. This change was made via Amendment 3 in 2006.
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.||”|
On June 16, 2014, Gov. Rick Scott (R) signed Senate Bill 1030, also known as the “Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.” The legislation legalized low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis, such as the strain Charlotte’s Web, for medical patients suffering from cancer or "a physical medical condition that chronically produces symptoms of seizures," such as epilepsy, "or severe and persistent muscle spasms." The law requires physician approval and for the potential user’s physician to determine that “no other satisfactory alternative treatment options exist for that patient.” SB 1030 also authorized medical centers to conduct research on low-tetrahydrocannabinol (low-THC) cannabis. The measure will become effective on January 1, 2015. Gov. Scott said, "As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer. I am proud to stand today with families who deserve the ability to provide their children with the best treatment available"
Gov. Scott also signed Senate Bill 1700. The law exempts the identification of patients and physicians from public records related to the medical use of low-tetrahydrocannabinol cannabis. The bill does allow, however, access to such information by law enforcement agencies, low-THC marijuana dispensing organizations, physicians, relevant health care regulatory boards and researchers under certain circumstances. SB 1700 was designed to be in effect until October 2, 2019.
Florida is the 22nd state to enact legislation legalizing some level of access to medical cannabis.
Effects on gubernatorial election
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. Ana Cruz, former executive director of the Florida Democratic Party, said, “I wish that it didn't take medical marijuana on the ballot to motivate our young voters to go and vote because there's far too much at stake for them and their children. But listen, we'll take it any way we can get it.”
Charlie Crist (D), who's running for governor in 2014, stated, "[Amendment 2] might get more younger voters to turn out. It may well increase turnout because if you're educating people about this being on the ballot, who otherwise might not have known it, then you're ginning it up." David Johnson, a Republican campaign planner, said he didn't think young people would turn out in large numbers over a single issue.
John Morgan said People United for Medical Marijuana has helped people register to vote who "never registered before." He thinks "turnout is going to be 2, 3, maybe even 4 points higher than we might have seen, but for this."
People United for Medical Marijuana, also known as United for Care, is leading the campaign in support of the measure.
- Sen. Jeff Clemens (D-27)
- Sen. Oscar Braynon (D-36)
- Rep. Dave Kerner (D-87)
- Rep. Katie Edwards (D-98)
- Alan Clendenin, vice chairperson of the Florida Democratic Party
- Former Gov. Charlie Crist (D), 2014 gubernatorial candidate
- Former Rep. George Sheldon (D-69), 2014 Attorney General candidate
- Former Sen. Nan Rich (D-34)
- Attorney John Morgan
- Attorney Bill Wohlsifer (L), 2014 Attorney General candidate
- Jeremy Bufford, marijuana cultivation expert
- George Soros
United for Care's "I AM United for Care" campaign video.
People United for Medical Marijuana listed a number of reasons to support the measure on their website:
|“||Facts about medical marijuana:
Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known. No one has ever died from an overdose, and it has a wide variety of therapeutic applications, including:
Marijuana is frequently beneficial in the treatment of the following conditions:
AIDS. Marijuana can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the ailment itself and by various AIDS medications. Observational research has found that by relieving these side effects, medical marijuana increases the ability of patients to stay on life-extending treatment. (See also CHRONIC PAIN below.)
HEPATITIS C. As with AIDS, marijuana can relieve the nausea and vomiting caused by treatments for hepatitis C. In a study published in the September 2006 European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology, patients using marijuana were better able to complete their medication regimens, leading to a 300% improvement in treatment success.
GLAUCOMA. Marijuana can reduce intraocular pressure, alleviating the pain and slowing—and sometimes stopping — damage to the eyes. (Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the United States. It damages vision by increasing eye pressure over time.)
CANCER. Marijuana can stimulate the appetite and alleviate nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of chemotherapy treatment.
MULTIPLESCLEROSIS: Marijuana can limit the muscle pain and spasticity caused by the disease, as well as relieving tremor and unsteadiness of gait. (Multiple sclerosis is the leading cause of neurological disability among young and middle-aged adults in the United States.)
EPILEPSY: Marijuana can prevent epileptic seizures in some patients.
CHRONIC PAIN. Marijuana can alleviate chronic, often debilitating pain caused by myriad disorders.
INJURIES: Since 2007, three published clinical trials have found that marijuana effectively relieves neuropathic pain. 
—People United for Medical Marijuana, 
An online video put out by United for Care featuring medical marijuana user Irvin Rosenfeld.
Ben Pollara, campaign manager of United for Care, offered counter arguments to what he considered the opposition's four main arguments:
- Claim #1: "Medical marijuana will destroy families like alcohol and other drugs have." Pollara replied, "Florida voters understand that passing Amendment 2 will grant medical marijuana access to really sick people. Conversations of addiction are not really germane. And to the effect that it is, common substitutes prescribed to use instead of medical marijuana are opiates, which are highly addictive. Using medical marijuana legally should decrease addictions in Florida to Oxycodone and Percocet."
- Claim #2: "The medical marijuana issue is a Republican versus Democrat issue." Pollara replied, "Medical marijuana is a nonpartisan issue. In a poll conducted by Republicans in Republican-held state senate districts, 78 percent supported medical marijuana. And in the polls we conducted, that number has always been well above 50 percent."
- Claim #3: "Children do not need medical marijuana to treat epilepsy since there are clinical trials they can participate in." Pollara replied, "Kevin [Sabet] is talking about clinical trials on CBD-based pharmaceuticals. It doesn't take into account kids suffering from seizures because they can't apply to be in study since it doesn't exist in Florida. It's like applying to Harvard. Parents are desperate. I'm not a parent, but I would want treatment for my child immediately and not wait. Medical marijuana is not particularly dangerous, and suffering children shouldn't have to wait for any real pharmaceutical research."
- Claim #4: "The wording in the amendment is too lenient and will make medical marijuana available to anyone." Pollara replied, "If there was any doubt, the Florida Supreme Court has already ruled that the amendment will only be used in cases of debilitating illness. The purpose of the amendment is to allow the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. In its wording, the amendment specifically says 'Nothing in this section authorizes the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient."
People United for Medical Marijuana, the initiative's sponsoring organization, issued a rebuttal to an opposing campaign video put out by Drug Free Florida:
CLAIM: In reference to the availability of medical marijuana, the website asserts “anyone who wants pot will get it.”
FACT: This is simply not true. In their decision placing Amendment 2 on the November ballot, the Florida Supreme Court affirmed that only patients with “debilitating” diseases and medical conditions would qualify for medical marijuana.
CLAIM: “Teens will be able to legally purchase pot without their parents’ consent.”
FACT: Wrong again. In order to purchase medical marijuana, you would need a doctor’s recommendation. Under Florida law, barring a few extenuating circumstances, physicians are not allowed to provide medical treatment to minors without parental or guardian consent, so this is a groundless concern.
CLAIM: Amendment 2 will lead to a “pill mill”-like scenario in Florida. “Pot docs” will “spring up next to restaurants, schools, churches and supermarkets.”
FACT: Look no further than the State of Florida to see that this claim is baseless. The State of Florida’s office of Economic and Demographic Research has already addressed this issue. They have said the physician examination requirement, the application process with the Department of Health, the regulatory structure that would be implemented by that same body and subsequent protective laws that may be passed by the legislature would make this scenario extremely unlikely. (See pages 10-11 of OEDR Financial Information Statement)
CLAIM: The website further contends that “felons-even drug dealers” would be able to qualify as caregivers in order to administer medical cannabis to severely ill patients.
FACT: This claim requires the reader to assume that the state will implement Amendment 2 in an irresponsible way. If the amendment is passed, the Florida Department of Health will be tasked with issuing detailed regulations regarding qualification requirements for caregivers. During that process United for Care will fight alongside any organization that, like us, is concerned about making sure nobody with a record of dealing drugs can become a qualified caregiver.
“When it comes to the credibility of anything that comes from Drug Free Florida, it’s best to consider the source,” Pollara concluded. “The organization is chaired by Carlton Turner, a former Reagan-era drug policy aide who had to abandon his position following his statements on marijuana leading to homosexuality. If his views were too extreme for the Reagan administration in 1986, how can we take anything he or his organization says seriously?” 
—People United for Medical Marijuana, 
Other arguments in support of the measure include:
- 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 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 said, "It's freedom and it's also compassion."
- 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."
| Total campaign cash |
as of October 21, 2014
As of October 21, 2014, People United for Medical Marijuana has received $7,067,667 in contributions.
|PAC||Amount raised||Amount spent|
|People United for Medical Marijuana||$7,067,667||$5,928,068|
The following are donors who contributed more than $45,000 to People United for Medical Marijuana:
|The Morgan Law Firm, PA||$3,574,188|
|Barbara A. Stiefel||$875,000|
|Center for Drug Policy Reform||$170,000|
|Drug Policy Action||$150,000|
|Henry Van Ameringen||$150,000|
|International Sports Management||$85,000|
|Harrison’s Organic Acres||$50,000|
|William M. Selvidge||$50,000|
|Ben Siegel Reptiles Inc.||$45,000|
Drug Free Florida is leading the campaign in opposition to the initiative. The organization hired Republican consultant Tre’ Evers. He has worked on campaigns for Lamar Alexander, Bill McCollum and former US Senator Mel Martinez. Evers also served in the Department of Transportation under former president George W. Bush.
The Florida Sheriffs Association (FSA) and Save Our Society From Drugs, along with other anti-marijuana organizations, launched Don't Let Florida Go to Pot (DLFGP). The organization plans on campaigning against medical marijuana, except the Charlotte's Web strain, and taking contributions, but will not be campaigning against Amendment 2 specifically due to the FSA's tax status. DLFGP has no intentions of initiating a political action committee and will therefore be running an "educational campaign."
Opponents of Amendment 2 have called the amendment a "de facto legalization" of marijuana.
- Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R)
- Former Supreme Court Justice Kenneth B. Bell, 2003-2008
- Former Supreme Court Justice Raoul Cantero, 2002-2008
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Wells, 1994-2009
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Major B. Harding, 1991-2002
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen H. Grimes, 1987-1997
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Leander J. Shaw Jr., 1983-2003
- Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Parker Lee McDonald, 1979-1994
- Florida Family Policy Council
- Florida Medical Association
- Institute on Global Drug Policy
- Drug Policy Institute
- Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition
- Florida Police Chiefs Association
- Florida Sheriffs Association
- Florida Chamber of Commerce
- Save Our Society from Drugs
- Brevard County Medical Society
- Florida Baptist Convention
- Florida Farm Bureau
- Sheldon Adelson, casino and hotel magnate
Drug Free Florida's "The Devil is in the Details" campaign video.
Drug Free Florida, the committee opposing Amendment 2, criticized the measure for containing four loopholes. They argued:
THE POT-FOR-ANYONE-WHO-WANTS-IT LOOPHOLE
DRUG DEALER LOOPHOLE
PILL MILL LOOPHOLE
—Drug Free Florida, 
US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-23), chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, stated her opposition to Amendment 2:
|“||I have concerns that it is written too broadly and stops short of ensuring strong regulatory oversight from state officials. Other states have shown that lax oversight and ease of access to prescriptions can lead to abuse, fraud, and accidents. Also, given Florida's recent history in combating the epidemic of 'pill mills' and dubious distinction as having among the highest incidents of fraud, I do not believe we should make it easier for those seeking to abuse the drug to have easy access to it.
As a cancer survivor, mother and lawmaker, I am acutely empathetic to the suffering of people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain. My view is that approval of the use of marijuana as a medical treatment should be handled responsibly and in a regulated manner that ensures its approval does not do more harm than good. 
—US Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-23), 
Other arguments against the initiative include:
Drug Free Florida's "The Pot-for-Anyone-Who-Wants-It Loophole" campaign video.
- Gov. Rick Soctt (R) said that he would not vote for the initiative. He stated, "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."
- Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) argued, "Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire. Allowing large-scale, marijuana operations to take root across Florida, under the guise of using it for medicinal purposes, runs counter to all of these efforts. I believe it is the right of states to decide this issue, and I strongly urge Floridians to vote against Amendment 2 this November."
- 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 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."
- The Florida Medical Association said, "Providing compassionate care to our patients is something we do everyday. We believe the untended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians."
- Mark Wilson, president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said, "Normally, we focus on creating jobs, improving education and making Florida more competitive, but this is the type of business Florida can do without."
As of October 21, 2014, Drug Free Florida Committee has received $4,740,422 in contributions.
|PAC||Amount raised||Amount spent|
|Drug Free Florida Committee||$4,740,422||$4,328,759|
The following donors contributed $5,000 or more to Drug Free Florida Committee:
|Carol Jenkins Barnett Family Trust||$540,000|
|Mel F. Sembler||$100,000|
|Alfred Hoffman Jr.||$25,000|
|Thomas A. James||$25,000|
|Central Florida Hotel & Lodging Association||$20,000|
|Neal Communities of Southwest Florida||$10,000|
|Malcolm K. Beyer, Jr.||$5,000|
Media editorial positions
A medical marijuana forum sponsored by The Ledger. The forum featured Amendment 2 supporters and opponents.
- 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."
- Cape Coral Daily Breeze said, "That's a pretty well-defined process with built-in safeguards. Meaning, no one is going to open a pot shop next door to a school; no one is going to authorize handing kids a wink-wink "prescription;" and no one is going to start a legal grow house next door. Vote YES on Amendment 2."
- Ocala Star Banner said, "As in other states, the Florida Legislature’s inaction led citizens to propose an amendment. So, it is reasonable, we think, for Florida to become the 24th state that allows marijuana to be used by patients who have the approval of a licensed physician. We recommend voting yes on Amendment 2."
- 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."
- Tallahassee Democrat said, "Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia have some sort of law permitting the use of medical marijuana, and the world hasn't ended. Vote yes."
- The Tampa Tribune said, "We are not without compassion for the sufferers of chronic pain. But the wording of this amendment opens the door to abuse. It’s based on blind faith that the state adopts the right rules and has the capacity to enforce them."
- Tampa Bay Times said, "It is understandable that the private market sees medical marijuana as the next big thing. But patient health and public safety should be paramount. It would help voters make a more informed decision in November on medical marijuana if the state provided greater clarity on how it would carry out the amendment's intent to help specific patients without turning Florida into the next California."
- See also: Polls, 2014 ballot measures
|Florida Amendment 2 (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
|University of North Florida|
3/06/2014 - 3/14/2014
4/23/14 - 4/25/14
|Quinnipiac University Poll|
4/23/14 - 4/28/14
|Anzalone Liszt Grove Research and Public Opinion Strategies|
5/25/14 - 6/5/14
|Quinnipiac University Poll|
7/17/14 - 7/21/14
|UF Graham Center|
8/27/14 - 8/31/14
9/12/14 - 9/15/14
|Anzalone Liszt Grove Research|
9/12/14 - 9/18/14
|Florida Chamber Political Institute|
9/18/14 - 9/21/14
10/02/14 - 10/06/14
|University of North Florida|
9/29/14 - 10/08/14
|UF Graham Center|
10/07/14 - 10/12/14
|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|
Reports and analyses
Bachhuber et al.
A study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine, found that states with medical marijuana laws saw a reduction in average opioid analgesic overdose deaths between 1999 and 2010.
The number of patients with non-cancer pain who receive prescriptions for opioids has nearly doubled since 2000. Rates of opioid use disorders and overdose deaths have risen drastically over the same time period. About 60 percent of all opioid analgesic overdose deaths occur among patients who have legitimate prescriptions from a single medical provider. While policies such as prescription drug monitoring programs have been suggested to reduce opioid use issues, less attention has been given to how alternative non-opioid treatments, including medical cannabis, may affect opioid abuse and overdose.
As of July 2014, 23 states have enacted laws permitted medical cannabis programs. These laws are associated with increased cannabis use among adults. The researchers proposed that increased access to medical cannabis could have two different effects on opioid use and abuse:
- Access to medical cannabis could reduce opioid use, and thus opioid abuse and overdose death; or
- Access to medical cannabis could act as a "gateway" leading to drug abuse, including of opioids.
The study illustrated a correlation between access to medical cannabis and decreased opioid overdose deaths. States with medical cannabis laws had a 24.8 percent lower annual rate of opioid overdose deaths than states that hadn’t legalized medical cannabis. The lower rate continued decreasing with time. On average, a state with legal medical cannabis saw a 33.3 percent reduction after six years.
Although the researchers found a correlation between "a lower mean annual rate of opioid analgesic mortality in states with medical cannabis laws, a direct causal link cannot be established."
The study was conducted by Marcus A. Bachhuber, MD; Brendan Saloner, PhD; Chinazo O. Cunningham, MD, MS; and Colleen L. Barry, PhD.
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. The Division of Elections recorded 786,371 valid signatures.
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.”
The following medical marijuana legalization measures were proposed in 2014:
Two states and the District of Columbia will vote on legalizing recreational marijuana in November 2014:
- Alaska Marijuana Legalization, Ballot Measure 2 (2014)
- Oregon Legalized Marijuana Initiative, Measure 91 (2014)
- Washington D.C. Marijuana Legalization, Initiative 71 (November 2014)
The following recreational marijuana legalization measures were proposed for 2016:
- Arizona Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2016)
- California Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2016)
- Montana Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2016)
- Wyoming Marijuana Legalization Initiative (2016)
- 2014 ballot measures
- Laws governing the initiative process in Florida
- Florida 2014 ballot measures
- List of Florida ballot measures
- South Florida Business Journal, "Medical marijuana: South Florida law firm beefs up, betting on legalization," September 12, 2014
- Governing, "Florida May Become First Southern State to Legalize Medical Marijuana," September 8, 2014
- Crestview News Bulletin, "Florida entrepreneurs cashing in on possibility of legalized medical marijuana," May 7, 2014
- The Tampa Tribune, "Medical pot backers, foes in Florida eye potential rules," March 23, 2014
- The Tampa Tribune, "Morgan: Medicinal pot initiative will pass," February 21, 2014
- Florida Department of State, "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions," accessed January 14, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Florida Office of Economic & Demographic Research, "Financial Impact Statement," accessed January 27, 2014
- Florida Senate, "Senate Bill 1030," accessed June 26, 2014
- Reuters, "Florida governor signs law allowing limited medical marijuana use," June 16, 2014
- Florida Senate, "Senate Bill 1700," accessed June 26, 2014
- Sunshine State News, "Bill Signing Makes Florida 22nd State to Pass Medical Marijuana Legislation," June 16, 2014
- 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
- Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Medical marijuana measure in Florida a key test of pot's political potency for Democrats," April 14, 2014
- Huffington Post, "Florida Marijuana Campaign Heats Up, Could Raise Turnout For November Election," September 26, 2014
- People United for Medical Marijuana, "Homepage," accessed June 30, 2014
- Bloomberg, "Florida Pot Vote Seen Helping Democrat Become Governor," January 13, 2014
- The Tampa Tribune, "“Vote No on 2” anti-marijuana campaign commences," May 15, 2014
- Florida House of Representatives, "CS/CS/HB 843 - Cannabis," accessed August 22, 2014
- Orlando Sun Sentinel, "'Glimmer of hope' for medical marijuana in Florida," December 30, 2013
- Broward Palm Beach New Times, "Medical Marijuana: Alan Clendenin, Florida Democratic Vice Chair, Breaks With Wasserman Schultz on Amendment 2," June 9, 2014
- WFSU, "Florida AG Race: Candidates Debate Medical Marijuana, Another Ad Released," October 6, 2014
- Miami Herald, "Poll: 82 percent favor medical marijuana, plurality support pot legalization," November 21, 2013
- Florida Cannabis Action Network
- Digital Journal, "Marijuana Holdings Americas Sponsors Florida Cannabis Industry Association, Commits To Florida Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative," April 2, 2014
- WTSP 10, "Moms form group in support of medical marijuana," May 26, 2014
- Tampa Bay Times, "State NAACP endorses Amendment 2," September 16, 2014
- Tampa Bay Times, "Florida union endorses medical marijuana measure," June 24, 2014
- Libertarian Party of Florida
- 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
- Russia Today, "Billionaire George Soros behind major push for marijuana legalization," April 3, 2014
- United for Care, "Get the Facts," accessed August 20, 2014
- Broward Palm Beach New Times', "United for Care's Ben Pollara Counters Arguments by Anti-Medical Marijuana Crowd," March 17, 2014
- United for Care, "United for Care Pans Launch of New Anti-Amendment 2 Website, Video," May 15, 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
- The Florida Times-Union, "Economic impact of medical marijuana in Florida an open question," February 1, 2014
- Florida Secretary of State, "Campaign Finance," accessed July 8, 2014
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- 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
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- CBS Miami, "Florida Supreme Court Clears Way For Medical Marijuana On Ballot," January 27, 2014
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