Florida Medical Marijuana Could be Headed for 2014 Ballot

Florida Medical Marijuana Could be Headed for 2014 Ballot

TALLAHASSEE, FL — With Florida lawmakers unwilling to consider advancing any bills pertaining to medical marijuana or marijuana reform, instead overwhelmingly voting to pass an almost unenforceable law making the sale of virtually all pipes and paraphernalia a felony, medical marijuana advocates are looking to the 2014 ballot.

Senate Bill 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, was introduced to the Florida legislature in February and assigned to the Health Policy Committee, where it immediately stalled until it was officially killed May 3 by lawmakers, never receiving a hearing or serious consideration by lawmakers.

Now, with the help of prominent Orlando attorney John Morgan, activists are preparing a massive statewide signature campaign to place the proposal on the ballot, where recent polls have found over 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, are in support of medical marijuana legalization.

Morgan, who routinely hosts national political figures at his Orlando-area home, including President Obama, has co-founded an organization called United for Care with the intent of placing the question before voters in 2014, when voters will also pick a governor, members of Congress and state legislators.

Morgan has also pledged upwards of $3 million of his personal finances to kick start the effort.

“I’m prepared to keep raising money and writing checks until I get the signatures to put it on the ballot,” Morgan said earlier this year.

Under Florida law, the campaign needs to collect signatures of almost 700,000 registered voters to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the ballot in November 2014.

Legal analysts say a successful campaign in the Sunshine State could cost upwards of $10 million.

Morgan, who put his money behind a successful 2004 constitutional amendment raising Florida’s minimum wage, is not deterred and said he thinks he can recruit an “army of angels” to help gather the necessary signatures for the ballot initiative.

“I think it could be unprecedented in Florida politics, when you have so many volunteers with a passion for compassion out there collecting signatures,” Morgan says. “This will cost me quite a bit of money in proportion to what I have, but if it happens, I see it as political philanthropy – that through politics, a whole lot of good could be done for a whole lot of people for a whole lot of time.”

“I believe there is going to be kind of an uprising of people who have needed it in the past or had a loved one who needed it who are going to say I don’t want this to happen to someone else.”

And that includes Morgan himself.  Over a decade ago, when his father was dying from esophageal cancer and emphysema, one of his brothers would bring him marijuana to help.

“He would smoke it or eat it and his nerves were steadied, his pain went away, his nausea went away, he had an appetite,” Morgan says. “It wasn’t a wonderful way to die, tethered to a machine but at least he was not being tortured.”

Morgan says United for Care is currently in the process of writing the language for the proposed ballot initiative.  If activists are successful in placing the initiative on the ballot, it would require a 60% approval from voters to pass.

Florida’s now-defeated 2013 legislative effort would have allowed patients with certain qualifying medical conditions, or their caregivers, to possess up to four ounces of marijuana and grow up to eight marijuana plants.

It would have also required the Department of Business and Professional Regulation to license and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries and cultivation facilities.

Robert and Cathy Jordan

Robert and Cathy Jordan

The bill was named in recognition of Cathy Jordan, president of the Florida Cannabis Action Network, who uses marijuana in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s Disease.”

Just hours after the bill was first introduced to the legislature in February,  a task force from the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office raided the Jordan’s  home, claiming a tip that the couple had two marijuana plants growing in their back yard.

Deputies did not arrest Cathy or her husband Robert, but they confiscated their plants and referred the case to prosecutors, who refused to press charges against the couple. The Jordans have since sued the Sheriff’s office for protection from future raids.

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  • timedonkey

    Florida state politics is controled by big pharma and a giant police state industrial complex. The old demons in the legislature are all on prescription drugs and the governor looks like a Zombie who wants to Pee test everyone to increase his drug rehab business. They do not represent the people of Florida who overwhelmingly support Free Market Hemp. They should all be impeached for failure to represent.

    • Matthew Cunningham

      Maybe its time to Tar and Feather the Scoundrels

  • Rand Paul

    This would be the best thing to ever happen to Florida, culturally speaking. Right now the Creative Class is running away from Florida in droves. There are no jobs, and all of the talent is leaving. The laws relating to cannabis are draconian and outdated. It’s time Florida takes a step in the right direction. The young, educated class is more mobile than ever, let’s give them a reason to move back to Florida — that reason can be tolerance towards others to treat their bodies as they wish. Legalization of cannabis is not just a Liberal or Conservative issue — it is a matter of Liberty. Let’s free Florida from the private prison industry and big pharma!! It’s time we took back the Sunshine State!!

    • Ray Ennas

      Well said.

  • Sinsibility

    Cathy Jordan’s story is incredibly motivating. It is time to take the gloves off and make the all out effort, and not just in Florida but throughout the entire country.

    There just isn’t a good reason for marijuana prohibition to persist,
    Cannabis itself is not causing harm, but prohibition of it is.

    This issue has lost any claim of being anything but a cash cow for the
    unbelievably greedy people that are profiting from it.
    Cannabis will win legality, and it won’t improve anything
    if it has the living daylights regulated out of it.
    Greed must be taken out of the equation entirely.
    But wait, that would solve many of our problems in this country.

  • Tom Petroski

    My mother suffers from dementia and Alzheimer disease. We have tried absolutely everything and nothing helps. She’s been to dozens of doctors, specialists, and even to Yale Medical Hospital–no one can help. She’s grinding her teeth and will not stop. I’ve done a considerable amount of research on this issue and several studies suggest medical cannabis might help. At this point, my family would be willing to try anything. Do I think this will bring back my mother? I’m doubtful, but several studies support THC and CBD and the endocanabanoid system support homeostasis, have antioxidant properties in the brain, and its ability to inhibit the AChE enzyme might help. At the very least it can put her at ease and stop her grinding which several prescription drugs were unable to do. Even botox injections were recommended to us by a specialist since the pills didn’t work. Breaking the law is becoming a no-brainer when it comes to the comfort of my mother.

    I ask you, Florida, why would a pill-mill state support pharmaceuticals that often have far worse side effects than the ailments that they treat while simultaneously closing your eyes to the proven and documented medical benefits attributed to cannabis?

    No, medical cannabis probably won’t bring my mother back, but the least you could do is allow safe access to people who may be saved by using it. Instead you enact these asinine laws about bongs and pipes–as if children can’t figure out how to roll a joint, crush a can, core an apple, or innovate something out of tinfoil. All while ignoring University study after study supporting the medicinal value of Cannabis, the U.S. Health Department owning PATENT# 6630507: Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants, and countless cancer patients using it as an appetite stimulant as they enter chemo therapy.

    From a son who has lost his mother, to a country that will never pay me a dime in social security…congratulations. You’ve saved the world from a substance far less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco, ruined the lives of several people and revoked their rights to vote, disallowed individuals to choose for themselves, ignored factual evidence, and in the end you got a pat on the back from your party lines and lobby groups. Job well done.

    Thank you politicians for putting so much effort into perpetuating the D.A.R.E propaganda I was force-fed in elementary school, thank for closing your eyes and focusing on your careers as politicians, thank you for ignoring the data, thank you for not having the sense to investigate matters on your own, and thank you for doing what you personally think is best for society and not what the majority of your citizens–who voted for you–desperately need. You’ve earned so much respect.

  • Matthew Cunningham

    At the root of this is the fact that slavery is out- law by the constitution with the exception of prison labor which is not protected, The private prisons with their guaranteed occupancy levels they have lobby-ed hard and spent tens of millions,keeping it so. Cannabis prisoner make some of the best prison labor force they are generally young healthy non violent and educated and the smell of burnt plant matter allow police to arrest one every 37 second that might not put them in prison, but it introduces them to the Justice system where parole, jail time, courts cost, lawyers and fines. This put all but the rich in financial ruin with family’s selling off homes and assets at losses to afford justice. One positive test can put some one on parole behind bars for years. A recent Huffington report quoted that cannabis seizures at the border is 99.5% and we don’t have many Coca or Poppy field here so it all about cannabis prohibition and with as much as 60% or more could be eliminated that a lot of jobs for the prohibition industry.

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  • killiluminati420

    If this was the good ol days weed just kill the nasty greedy satanic govment

  • RJ

    When there is something out there that isn’t government oriented they will do everything to keep it out of our hands. I had heart surgery in February of 2012 at the age of 19. I started smoking cannabis right after my surgery. I have felt so much better since then. I used to sleep a total of 15hrs a week at maximum and since i started smoking I have been getting 8-10hrs a night. I have been on over 15 anti-depressants to try and sleep, I have tried chamomile, I have tried Nyquil even (which really messes up your liver) and nothing has done the trick. all of these medications was given to me by no other than a hospital ran by the government and it wasn’t until recently I started smoking cannabis. Why would we take a drug that has side effects that says “Warning can cause severe nausea and loss of appetite” or the ones that says “Can cause bodily harm” now you are telling me a country that is supposedly supposed to help their citizens would rather us pay sometimes over $500 a bottle for something that is generally could be the cause of our death? No thank you just please arrest me for smoking something that keeps me at peace, calms my heart rhythm, controls my migraines, and potentially saved my life. This government is no worse than the gangs on the street the only difference is they cover up their crooked ways and justify it with help from the Feds. Thank you John Morgan for stepping up. I have the upmost respect for you. Anyone that has a problem with cannabis has never smoked it. I can truly say that because everyone that I know that once was completely against it is probably currently smoking it now because of the wonders it has done for them. Free your mind don’t let them put a lock on your creativity people!

  • Melissa

    I watched my aunt daily until her death this past year of Cancer. She was diagnosed and died within one year of her origional diagnosis . She of course used traditional western medical treatment and was optimistic that she could beat the disease early on in her treatment. However, the radiation only shut down her immune system. It was horrible to see her suffer daily. Especially when there are documented studies that show the positive effects of cannabis on Cancer. To all that oppose the legalization of medical cannabis ask yourselves. What would you do in order to save your life? What would you do to save your child’s life or other family member? To watch someone suffer and withhold a valuable product that could save or limit their suffering IS WRONG. If a caretaker withholds a traditional Western required medication it is seen as a crime. The crime here is to not allow our citizens the right to make a decision regarding their Own health.

  • chipthecrip

    I was born with cerebal pausey. I was pidgeon toed and my muscels didn’t grow as I got taller. My parents wich had adopted me was told I would never walk and the best thing would be to leave me on someones doorstep. Needless to say they did not do that and I went through 14 operations. I had my bones in both legs cut and then they cut me open again to be able to spin the bones around so they would face straight. Then a steel plate was screwed in one bone and a rod in the other one to hold them together til the bones grows back together. I could write a book on all ive been through. I’m 50 now and I want to thank Morgan and Morgan and all the others for comeing fo
    rward for what is been need for along time. I’m taken oxy this and oxy that methadone when pot helps take half or more of all these major addictive meds.Please if you haven’t signed a petition call morgan and morgan to sign up free.

  • Michael D. Harris Jr.

    This would be the best thing for florida, I am really sick of having to see my mother who is a veteran, take thirty-something medications that are not helping her, This Medicine would help my mother majorly with her pain, and help with those who actually need this medicine, I only want my mother to live longer than the medical associations want her to, Please have this Legalized! Support People! Support This earth! Support positive medicine! , If you are against Medical Marijuana, I suggest you look up the “Endocannabanoid System” and do further research before having a factual idea of cannabis.

  • Richard Riddle

    I’ve had no choice but to take opiates for pain, I heard on a documentary that a drop or two of cannabis oil placed into a capsule and swallowed with opiate pain pills can reduce my opiate intake by five times; not five percent, but five times–this could be life changing for me, and all like me, it is hope for a better quality of life. Also if this is true, I personally think if the oil is that, “magical”, who knows, there may be enough pain relief in oils to totally do away with opiates for the majority-who in Florida have no alternative now but the pain pills. We Floridians also live farther then any other state, to a state where it is legal medically, or for pleasure. We have had all the necessary signatures times before-and each time the politicians would forbid we the people from voting. Has anyone suffering from chronic pain tried the oil every day for at least two weeks; and if so please email me with your results. Also people who live in free states, any information on tonics, tinctures, rubs, sprays, anything new or old recipies or stores that sell cannabis plant pain-management remedies to replace the monthly Dr. visits and the damn pills.