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Signature Gathering Begins for 2014 Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Amendment

By Scott Gacek July 11, 2013 Signature Gathering Begins for 2014 Florida Medical Marijuana Legalization Amendment
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TALLAHASSEE, FL — The Florida Secretary of State gave final approval Wednesday for signature gathering to begin on a proposed medical marijuana legalization constitutional amendment aimed at the 2014 ballot.

The initiative sponsors, United for Care, have until February 1, 2014, to gather about 700,000 valid voter signatures to place the measure before voters.  If activists are successful in placing the initiative on the ballot, it would require a 60% approval from voters to pass.

The campaign is estimated to cost about $3 million, and the group has raised $200,000 so far.  

Legal analysts say a successful campaign in the Sunshine State could cost upwards of $10 million, but United for Care’s Joe Morgan, who put his personal fortune 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.”

Volunteers can sign up via their website to help collect signatures and coordinate efforts in their area.  The petition is also available online for registered voters in the state of Florida to print out and sign.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow patients in Florida to use marijuana if they have a  debilitating medical condition and approval from their doctor.  Certain diseases such as cancer, glaucoma and Parkinson’s are specifically mentioned in the amendment.

Doctors would also have the discretion to recommend marijuana for any “conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient,” similar to medical marijuana laws recently passed in several other states.

Once a patient receives a recommendation for medical marijuana from their doctor, they would have to obtain an identification card from the Florida Department of Health, who would be charged with administering the program and be responsible for developing “reasonable regulations” for medical marijuana, including the procedures and fees for opening a dispensary in the state, as well as the amount of marijuana a patient could obtain or possess at a time.

Recent polls have found that over 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, are in support of medical marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State, which has become a popular retirement destination in recent decades.

“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.”

Earlier this year, Florida lawmakers passed on an opportunity to provide medical marijuana to the state’s sick and elderly.  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.

Instead, lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to pass a law making the sale of virtually all pipes and paraphernalia a felony, a law that has been highly criticized as unenforceable.

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.

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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  • HumphreyPloughjogger

    Another copy cat exemption to prohibition that accepts claims that marijuana is so dangerous that it needs to be regulated as a poison.

  • Dan Astle

    IT SHOULD BE MADE LEGAL LIKE BEER FOR RECREATIONAL USE Bropod.com

    • timmy

      I agree with this, I have only smoke weed a couple of years ago.

      Its okay I guess, but I don’t even bother to smoke, its not much of a big deal.

      Legalising it:
      - People will show way more improved support for the government

      - Money that went to put the people in jail goes towards tax and the government

      - Should reduce some crime.

      Like, why not legalize it?. even when it does become legal I won’t even bother to get it, it should just make people more happier about the laws and all that thinking the law/government is good and fair so why the hell not?.

      Alcohol was banned too and thank god made -re legal.

      Don’t keep it illegal, it will mean less money for the government/the world we live in (even tough its a tiny bit of money going towards keeping people in jail for no reason that money could go toward health care,police,roads,governments,etc.

      And people will way more respect the Law, the cops and the government then (look up to them..) I already do but the people who don’t atm will after its been legal.

  • Zoooootie

    I been saying we were next since last year well jackboy season goin be on swole

  • Mat McGee

    I am willing to push it…to no end. It is a great alternative to addictive pain meds for a lot of people…and communities.

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  • Jeff Shanley

    I think this is a good step forward, but it is only a step. I do believe that both a medicinal and recreational cannabis market would be an immensely viable revenue source for the state of Florida. As a state with a subtropical climate ideal for the growing of cannabis year-round, with the proper regulations (“smoking age” of 21, regulated system of production, processing and purveyance including quality-control) and good old-fashioned common sense, we can take advantage of the huge swaths of agricultural land that now lie unused due to the 2005 canker epidemic that effectively killed our orange crops.

    Now, what would be the difference between the recreational and medicinal market? I think we should look to Colorado for this. Each medical dispensary custom-grows cannabis plants based on a patient’s needs; each plant has a specific THC and CBD concentration that has a specific effect. In addition, Florida can also look to Washington with regards to how this new market will be regulated by the government, with as little internal upheaval as possible. The Florida Department of Professional Business Regulations Division of Tobacco and Alcohol is the prime candidate to oversee and regulate a cannabis market.

    Furthermore, the legalization of cannabis opens the door to an industrial hemp industry. This is the REAL solution to our current economic — AND environmental — woes. If we shift from a timber-based paper industry to an industrial hemp-based paper industry, we will cut down deforestation and create books that will last at least as long as the Declaration of Independence AND the Constitution.

    Let’s utilize a responsible approach to the introduction of cannabis and hemp. Let’s make Florida RICH again.

    • biffsniff

      If legal cannabis is going to be introduced to Florida, whether medicinal or recreational, it will most likely be grown indoors. In order to ensure a high quality product, it almost has to be grown indoors because the conditions need to be nearly perfect. So the idea of utilizing farm land isn’t likely going to happen. Farming hemp with that land, however, is still very possible.

      • Jeff Shanley

        Perhaps, but in regards to industrial hemp, if we want to have a high-yield and high-volume crop it would behoove us to grow that outside. And who knows, it’s very possible that “indoor” and “outdoor” cannabis can add some variety to the market. I just want the state to take as much advantage of the crop as possible.

      • Jeff Shanley

        I see we’re already on the same page re: hemp. Awesome!

      • DaddyR

        ummm, I totally agree with you all on these topics, but quality cannabis can be grown indoors or outdoors equally as well. Jamaica for example has some of the best cannabis (so I’ve heard, never been there) in the world, and its nearly all grown outdoors. So, I think your state of Florida would provide awesome outdoor grows. I mean, how much more perfect for plants can you get than tropical!? (unless its a desert plant, lol)

        • biffsniff

          I’m not saying high quality cannabis cannot be grown outdoors, its just that indoor growing will yield the highest quality and consistency between crops. Cannabis is called ‘weed’ for a reason, it can grow almost anywhere, but the kind of stuff that will be sold as medicinal cannabis will most likely be grown indoors. There are too many things that can go wrong when growing outdoors, such as undesired pollination by males, plants turning hermaphrodite due to high temperature/humidity, bugs, and of course security. Just think of it as medicine, I could synthesize your meds in my garage but you wouldn’t want to buy them, you would want to get it from someone who makes it in a professional lab.

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  • Cunning_Linguist

    Coming Soon… Bubbles’ Beachin’ Compassion Club

    Featuring Daily Specials on White Widow.

  • Seth A. Yellin

    Yes. No deaths, no physical addiction, and treats and/or cures the most of any medicine which includes different Cancers. Zen.

  • a florida voter

    im old i vote most republican i dont smoke weed but I think this is a good idea and i will vote for it

  • costina

    It should be legalized for recreational use all over the usa

  • Lynn

    Should be legalized PERIOD.

    People killed by alcohol each year: 75,000 Americans

    People killed by marijuana between 1997 to 2005, according to the FDA (and we all know how reliable they are, right? GMOS) : 300

    That’s 300 marijuana deaths in 8 years compared to 600,000 alcohol deaths in the same amount of time.
    Florida is the WORST state in the US for marijuana prosecutions. A single joint is a felony. As a Class1 felony, it carries a stiffer penalty than Cocaine(a Class 2) ! It’s time we did away with this obsolete BS & legalize it, tax it, help the economy, & free up law enforcement for more serious problems like REAL crimes.

  • Noah

    Thanks for the heads up this is coming. Im a Florida resident and Im sure as hell voting NO!

    • Noles1724

      Educated on the topic, you aren’t.

    • Jeba Ti

      Noah your a Fking idiot. People with horrible conditions are the reason it needs to be legal. You are proof that if you dont like it in Florida then move the fk out!!!! Marijuana will be legal regardless of what you vote or what you feel. I hope you endure cancer, HIV, and any disease that would inhibit you from living a normal life. Then tell me you dont want marijuana you liberal piece of sh*t.

      • https://www.facebook.com/akuma.ciel Noah

        By your logic lets turn that around. If you have a horrible condition why are you living in a state where marijuana is not available. You are free to move to Colorado..quit trying to ruin another state. Leave.

      • https://www.facebook.com/akuma.ciel Noah

        Oh and check yourself. I’m not liberal, I’m more towards conservative..the LIBERALS WANT MARIJUANA LEGAL. Dumb@ss.

  • fxgfdhfd

    Either way I’ll (we’ll) still be smoking. No stopping teh Ganja.

  • Johnman

    There are tons of veterans that would sign this ballot. I was at the VA clinic the other day with my father, we started talking about pollitics, one of the people who worked in the office came from around the back of the counter and said “They need to legalize marijuana” Im all for it, but when employees of the Veterans Association are all for it, it just lets you know your not wrong. If anyone wants signatures that would be a good place to start, VA, BayPines, employees and patients, the local VFW’s and DAV. If the people who care for our Vets recommend it, shouldnt it be so?

  • Carly

    I have been on addictive pain meds for twenty years. Medical Marijuana would save my life.Thank you

  • Justin Graziano

    What a shame, we have to resort to constitutional amendments to get anything done in this state because of the piece of shit Republican-run legislature.

    • Art

      Recent polls have found that over 70% of Florida voters, including 56% of Republicans, are in support of medical marijuana legalization in the Sunshine State, which has become a popular retirement destination in recent decades.

  • matthew haverty

    if your doing it at home and not doing anything to hurt anyone why cant we smoke weed but ppl can drink and drive and drink and go out i dont get it drunk ppl are dumber then ppl that are high

  • JOE FEVER

    REALLY HOPE THEY GET THE VOTES THEY NEED BECAUSE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO MAY NEED MEDICAL MARIJUANA FOR PLENTY OF REASONS AND THE GENERIC DRUGS THRE RECEIVING IS ONLY MAKING THEIR SITUATIONS WORST SIDE EFFECTS AND MORE HEALTH PROBLEMS IN THEIR FUTURE ON THE CONTRARY MEDICAL MARIJUANA SLOWS THE PROCESS OF OTHER CELLS FROM DEVELOPING WORST SYMPTOMS AND IF THERE ARE CANCER CELLS DEVELOPING IT HELPS SLOW THAT PROCESS DOWN ALOT MORE THAN MEDICATIONS THERE RECEIVING JUST TO EAZE THERE PAINS

  • costina

    I have 2 sister in laws and a nephew that got hooked on pills from taken them because they were prescribed and died from overdose ,And myself suffering from a rare bone problem causing pain trying not to take pills just so i dont get hooked,Marijuana would help me and others so much better then pills for pain ,Not only that its better then drinking and going out and causing accidents fighting acting a fool ,legalize it for recreation,medical :)

  • Justonewin

    I’m tired of man made crap being pushed down my throat as I have lupus. I can get any med I so choose and refuse all pain meds offered to me . I will use pot thank you I know what’s in it and it never gets recalled.

  • Tesy

    text only at (208) 682-7687 or email us at (medicanalmarijuna@gmail.com )
    medical marijuana for sale

  • russ lipps

    make pot legal its that simple include industrial hemp only makes senseTalking about dollars and sense!!!!!!!.

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