Florida lawmakers approve health care amendment and put marijuana on the table

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March 11, 2011


TALLAHASSEE, Florida: The Florida State Legislature is officially in session and as the first piece of legislation to be considered the Senate approved a proposed Florida Healthcare Amendment. The measure aims to prevent penalties for not purchasing health care coverage in order to comply with federal health care reforms (also known as PPACA, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act).

In order to qualify for the November 2012 ballot the proposed amendment requires approval by a minimum of 60% in the both the House and the Senate. If approved the measure would be referred to the 2012 ballot. The Senate voted 29-10 on March 9.[1][2]

A similar proposal was approved and referred to the ballot in 2010 but was later removed following a court ruling.

Also, proposed during the legislature's first few days of session was a Medical Marijuana Amendment. Sponsored by Rep. Jeff Clemens, the bill would legalize marijuana for medical purposes. More specifically, the proposed amendment would allow patients to use marijuana if prescribed by a doctor but would not allow smoking in public places. Additionally, it would not require insurance companies to cover it and employers wouldn't be required to allow employees to smoke pot at work.[3] As of March 11 the bill has not been slated for a hearing.

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