By Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director
Earlier this week, we received news that United for Care, the campaign working to place a medical marijuana constitutional amendment on the ballot in Florida, had collected and certified the required number of signatures for qualification. Despite surpassing the signature requirement, the Florida Supreme Court still had yet to approve the language of the amendment. This afternoon, they ruled 4-3 in favor of allowing the amendment to be placed on November's ballot.
"Florida and national NORML salute the decision of the Florida Supreme Court to allow our citizens the right to decide for themselves if medicinal marijuana is an appropriate course of conduct for their own adult lives," stated NORML Board Chair and Florida resident Norm Kent, "Our group will be working vigorously, from Key West to our northwest panhandle, to pass this amendment and give our citizens the right to make health decisions best suited for their own lives."
"This is a tribute to the initiative of John Morgan, the group United for Care, and the thousands of petitioners who labored all over the state to acquire the requisite number of petitions to get this item on the ballot," Kent said.
20 states have now passed laws permitting medical marijuana and 2 have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Florida represents the first southern state to launch such an initiative, which divides the gubernatorial candidates, with the present governor, Rick Scott, opposing the initiative, and his likely opponent, Charlie Crist, saying he supports the effort.
The official ballot language can be seen below:
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.
NORML will keep you updated as this effort progresses.
(Note: Florida law requires constitutional amendments to receive 60% or more of the final vote total to be approved.)