A petition to place the issue of medical cannabis on the next Florida ballot has now reached around three quarters of the required signatures.
The Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative is a constitutional amendment proposed for the Florida ballot occurring on November 8, 2016.
While 7 out of 10 voters surveyed across all parties support access to legal medical marijuana in Florida, it’s another matter to motivate all those people to put their name to their support.
However, a petition coordinated by United For Care has had a huge response.
As at the 11th of January, approximately 900,000 petition signatures had been collected. Of those, 542,679 were deemed as valid. In order to get on the ballot, a total of 683,149 validated petitions are required – so 140,470 more validated petitions are needed by February 1. While there’s just a couple of weeks left to go, confidence is high the target will be achieved.
Prospects were buoyed somewhat on December 22 when the Florida Supreme Court unanimously approved the 2016 petition.
The “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions” ballot covers medicinal use only – there is nothing contained in it regarding laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production, or sale of marijuana.
The ballot summary proposes Florida’s Department of Health have oversight of centers producing and distributing marijuana for medical purposes. As in other states, an identification card system would be in place for patients and caregivers.
According to BallotPedia, United for Care had a similar initiative on the 2014 ballot in Florida, but the amendments were narrowly defeated on election day. While a 57.62 percent majority voted in favor of the amendment, Florida’s state constitution requires a 60 percent supermajority vote.
“This is just the first battle and I plan to win the war,” said United For Care’s John Morgan at the time. Mr. Morgan has stayed true to his word and fought on – currently the attorney is chair of United For Care.
23 U.S states plus Washington, D.C. so far permit legal access and protection under state law for patients with debilitating conditions whose doctors advice the use of medicinal cannabis.