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Florida Will Vote on Medical Marijuana in 2016

Florida Cannabis Now Magazine
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Florida Will Vote on Medical Marijuana in 2016

Although Florida patients got screwed in 2014 when United for Care’s Amendment 2 failed to become law by two measly percentage points, it appears as though voters will get a second chance at securing a victory later this year.

The same initiative, with a few minor tweaks to the language, has officially earned a spot on the ballot in the forthcoming November election. It was announced on Wednesday that supporters are preparing to launch the final phase of their come back campaign after receiving word from state officials that they had qualified enough signatures to proceed.

“This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief,” Orlando lawyer John Morgan, the founding father of the campaign, said in a statement. “What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election. A 2014 law authorizes distribution of low-THC, high-CBD cannabis extracts to qualified patients, but that system does not include any other marijuana products, and it is limited to patients with cancer, epilepsy, or conditions causing seizures or severe and persistent muscle spasms.”

Both Morgan and campaign manager, Ben Pollara, feel confident their mission of marijuana reform will attract more allies than enemies in 2016, mostly because of the ridiculousness behind the state’s bungled attempt at bringing a low-THC cannabis strain to a handful of cancer and seizure patients. This embarrassment of a law was passed in 2014, but has yet to service a single patient due to the cornucopia of clown shoe politics that has essentially stalled the effort every clumsy step of the way. After more than a year and half of waiting, more patients are now looking to get aboard with a more comprehensive plan to put that medicine in their hands post haste.

Although the United for Care initiative aims to bring a much better concept of medical marijuana to Florida, the 2016 proposal comes with some minor changes that, while they may appease some opposing forces, it might not be the salvation’s wing that patients have been waiting for. For starters, the ballot measure does not come with a provision that allows home cultivation, which means patients could be forced to wait until the cannabis industry is up and running before gaining access to medicine.

Also, as for as qualified conditions, only those “individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician” would be allowed to participate in the program. Conditions would include “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

Under the 2014 proposal, more people would have qualified to participate in the program, but organizers believe the update will bring about less panic from those who voiced concerns in 2014 that the group was trying to pass liberal program, such as the one in California, where anyone with a illness that cannabis could serve to benefit stands a chance of being approved for weed.

National marijuana policy experts predict United for Care’s Amendment 2 is a lock in 2016 for the win.

“I feel very confident Florida voters will legalize medical marijuana this November,” Tom Angell of the Marijuana Majority told Cannabis Now. “In 2014 the same team was able to rope in nearly 58 percent of the vote in an off-year election after a campaign that in my view didn’t effectively focus on patients who stand to be helped by cannabis. This year we have a presidential election race which will drive more supportive voters to the polls, which alone should be enough to give us the extra two points we need to pass the constitutional amendment.”

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