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Florida To Vote On Medical Marijuana Legalization In November

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Florida could become the next state to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes depending on the fate of a ballot initiative that will appear on the ballot in the Sunshine State this November:

(Reuters) – Florida voters will decide in November whether to legalize medical marijuana after the state Supreme Court on Monday approved an initiative to put the measure on the ballot.

Florida’s Republican Party leadership had opposed the wording of the ballot measure, saying it was too vague and misleading and that it would allow almost anyone to obtain marijuana for the slightest medical complaint.

A bitterly divided state Supreme Court voted 4-3 on Monday to allow the medical marijuana initiative to go on the November ballot, saying it met all legal requirements.

If the petition is backed by 60 percent of voters in November, Florida would become the first Southern U.S. state to approve marijuana for medical use, joining 20 other states.

A Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey late last year showed 82 percent public support for the amendment if it was put on the ballot. A constitutional amendment in Florida requires 60 percent voter approval for adoption.

In an unsigned 44-page ruling, the high court held that the ballot title and summary wording “are not clearly and conclusively defective.”

It went on to say the proposed amendment gave voters “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.”

Organizers of the “United for Care” campaign had succeeded on Friday in topping the signature requirement of 683,000 verified voter petitions from across the state.

“We’re obviously thrilled with the results,” said Ben Pollara, campaign manager for the ballot drive. “The voice of Floridians will finally get to be heard on this issue.”

If the numbers from the poll hold up, then this measure should pass the 60% threshold quite easily and will likely further efforts to at least allow marijuana to be used by people for whom it would have a medicinal or palliative effect to get some relief. The ideal solution, of course, would be decriminalization if not legalization but every little step in that direction is worth appreciating.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. wr says:

    Nice to see that Florida is only fifteen or so years behind the habitable parts of the country.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  2. rudderpedals says:

    @wr:

    Nice to see that Florida is only fifteen or so years behind the habitable parts of the country.

    About 15 years ago JEB! started his first term as Governor. Coincidence?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  3. john personna says:

    @wr:

    I was about to say that “medical marijuana is so 1996.”

    At this point I think a “medical” law is probably worse than Colorado style legalization. It just spawns seedy shops that deal in lies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. David in KC says:

    Be better if they had a test project first so the people with glaucoma could see better to vote.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  5. James Pearce says:

    The ideal solution, of course, would be decriminalization if not legalization but every little step in that direction is worth appreciating.

    It’s always been an open secret that MMJ is a backdoor to full legalization, so take heart: It’s just a matter of time.

    Prohibition is untenable. Our patchwork regulated marketplace is also untenable.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  6. michael reynolds says:

    Here in California medical marijuana means anyone with the $80 for a doctor visit can buy and smoke pot. That’s literally all there is to it. You tell them you can’t sleep, or have anxiety or your back hurts. They give you a card and you’re in business.

    Oddly enough it actually is good for insomnia.

    If you don’t have the $80 you have to walk over to Golden Gate Park.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. anjin-san says:

    The stupidity of putting people in prison for selling and using pot simply boggles the mind. Its cosmically dumb.

    I love this country, but we are so f**ked up in so many ways.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @anjin-san: As said, let’s decriminalize anything you can grow in your back garden.

    Aside from anything else, this will give great impetus to table-top gene-splicing kits.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  9. JohnMcC says:

    If the Medical MJ Amendment is on the ballot this Nov 4th, the ‘off-year’ electorate that reliably votes Republican here in FL will be much more like the electorate in a presidential year giving Dem’s a good shot at the Governor’s Mansion. And Mr John Morgan, a multi-millionaire trial lawyer who is presently Mr Charlie Crist’s employer is the driving force behind the Medical MJ petition drive.

    Apparently Mr Morgan’s father had his last days made more tolerable by some MJ that one of the Morgan sons had access to and there is no reason to think that Mr Morgan’s motives are less than admirable.

    But there are circles inside circles when something like this finds it’s way onto a state ballot.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0