Florida Politics reports:
The Florida Epilepsy Foundation has endorsed proposed Amendment 2, the medical marijuana initiative on Florida’s Nov. 8 ballot.
“Important medical decisions, such as treatments and medications, should be made by licensed physicians who know their patients best. That’s why the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida, along with the national Epilepsy Foundation, supports Amendment 2,” Karen Basha Egozi, chief executive officer of the organization, said Tuesday in a written statement.
“Florida’s epilepsy patients should have available whatever treatment options their doctors recommend, including medical marijuana,” she said.
The proposal would allow cannabis use by people “with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”
It provides legal protections for caregivers helping them administer the drug, subject to oversight by the state Department of Health.
A Saint Leo University poll released in late September indicated public support for an amendment that would legalize the use of medical marijuana in Florida. Amendment 2 will allow Florida doctors to legally recommend medical marijuana to their patients with debilitating illnesses.
Passage of Amendment 2 also authorizes the Department of Health to issue identification cards to patients and caregivers who qualify, as well as register and regulate facilities to produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes.
Although a Florida amendment to legalize the use of medical marijuana in 2014 was unsuccessful, advocates are confident that voter support is much stronger this year. The favorability of the amendment has increased from 65% in June to 68% in September. The amendment is required to get 60% of the vote for it to pass into law. In 2014, it received 58%.
“It appears as though medical marijuana supporters will get the victory they were denied by voters in 2014.” Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, said. "The higher the turnout among young voters, the better the chance that this amendment passes.”
Another poll released by the Florida Chamber of Commerce indicates that Amendment 2 is receiving 73% favorable support. The one take-away that voters supporting Amendment 2 have to consider is the importance of showing up to vote at the polls when it counts the most, on Election Day.
The Yes on 2 campaign working hard to maintain support and is currently working to raise money to counter an expansive campaign of misinformation by the much more well-funded opposition.
The first dispensary in Florida to offer low-THC medical marijuana products is expected to open in Tallahassee on Tuesday. Unfortunately, there are still huge flaws in Florida’s law. Dispensaries may be opening up, but for most patients, the doors are still shut.
First, only low-THC marijuana will be available, and only patients with cancer, seizures, or severe and persistent muscle spasms will qualify, leaving many patients behind. Although cannabis with more THC will eventually be available, it will only be for terminally ill patients.
Second, doctors are required to “order” a specific amount of cannabis, which is perilously close to prescribing it. This puts doctors at risk of violating federal law, and we expect that it will be very difficult for patients to find doctors willing to take this risk, which is why MPP does not classify Florida as a true medical marijuana state.
The best way to fix these problems is to support United for Care’s efforts to pass Amendment 2, which would create an effective medical program for Florida.
Jacksonville-based attorney John Morgan has given a multi-million dollar donation to the medical marijuana campaign in Florida, Jacksonville.com reports, and will now invest even more in helping seriously ill Floridians find relief. Morgan has added $4 million of his own money in support of Amendment 2, a medical marijuana ballot initiative that will be voted on in November. This amendment was proposed by medical marijuana proponents United For Care. Morgan claims that his support of the amendment is personal: His father and brother have used marijuana medically to alleviate pain from cancer and paralysis, respectively. He hopes that his support will help families like his treat themselves and their loved ones without having to fear arrest. You can find more information about the campaign here.
As MPP has reported, an overwhelming majority of Florida voters support allowing adults to use medical marijuana. A Quinnipiac Poll reported that medical marijuana has an 88% approval rate. Amendment 2 only needs 60% support in order to be adopted. The trend is definitely favoring medical marijuana and the state constitution amendment has a very good chance of passing. Florida lawmakers passed a bill earlier this session that is supposed to permit a limited number of patients to access specific low-THC, high-CBD marijuana oils to treat seizure disorders. Unfortunately, this bill will leave the vast majority of patients without safe and legal access, unlike Amendment 2.
Monday brought welcoming news to seriously ill patients in Florida: The Florida Supreme Court declared the medical marijuana constitutional initiative fit for November’s ballot! If passed, this initiative will allow individuals with debilitating conditions to use marijuana if their doctor recommends it. Since this initiative would amend the state’s constitution, it needs 60% support to pass. Please make sure you are registered to vote now, so that your voice will count come November.
Last week, the state confirmed that the campaign, United for Care, had submitted enough valid signatures to make the ballot. The only hurdle left before officially making the ballot was surviving the legal challenge brought by Attorney General Pam Bondi. Bondi argued the summary of the measure (which was written by its proponents) didn’t accurately explain what the initiative would do. She also claimed the measure violated Florida’s requirement that ballot questions be limited to a single subject. The Supreme Court, in a 4-3 decision, disagreed.
The Florida Legislature has refused to act on the numerous medical marijuana proposals brought before it by medical marijuana champions. This November, you have the opportunity to bypass the legislature by voting “yes” on medical marijuana, but only if you’re registered to vote. Finally, please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family in Florida.