ORLANDO, Fla. (WFLA) – Florida voters overwhelmingly approved a medical cannabis amendment on election night, with 71 percent of voters choosing to expand medical marijuana in Florida. The initiative will let licensed physicians prescribe medical marijuana.
The day after the election, local attorney John Morgan spoke for the first time about the passage of Amendment 2. “Compassion is coming,” Morgan said. He told News Channel 8 he spent $8 million of his own money leading the charge.
His United for Care group gathered enough petitions to put Amendment 2 back before voters on November’s ballot.
Morgan said the success of this year’s amendment was partly because it is more specific than the one he pushed in 2014, with fewer loopholes and less opposition.
So what’s next? “This will be a negotiation process,” Morgan said. “The state will need to come up with rules. And then implementation. What we’re going to need is grow facilities. This is like raising the speed limit from 5 mph to 60 mph. It is going to be that dramatic. For the state of Florida it is going to be a financial boom.”
Implementation will likely take at least a year, with the possibility of Floridians seeing the expansion of the medical marijuana program by 2018.
Ballotpedia summarized the initiative as follows:
“Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions 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 immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.”
A similar amendment was defeated in 2014, although a majority of Florida voters said yes to it. The 2014 measure received 57.62 majority, however, the state’s constitution required a 60 percent majority for passage.
“Although the 2014 measure and the 2016 measure were both designed to legalize medical marijuana, there are some differences between the two proposals. The 2016 measure clarifies requirements for parental consent for the use of medical marijuana by minors and also further defines what is meant by ‘debilitating’ illnesses that would qualify for marijuana as a treatment option. The 2016 measure also addresses concerns regarding caregivers by making it clear that doctors would not be immune from malpractice claims for negligent prescribing of marijuana and by limiting how many patients a caregiver can treat with marijuana,” Ballotpedia explains.
Patients have to have one of the following diseases:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
- Crohn’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Multiple sclerosis
Learn more about Amendment 2’s impact on Florida tonight at 5:30 on WFLA News Channel 8.
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