Florida Supreme Court Votes to Allow Medical Marijuana Amendment on Ballot

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director January 27, 2014

    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.)

    33 responses to “Florida Supreme Court Votes to Allow Medical Marijuana Amendment on Ballot”

    1. shadowpepper says:

      So one of the opponents is the Florida Chamber of Commerce? Really?

    2. Holy Smokes says:

      I can not believe this is happening. Florida?
      We’re voting on MMJ this November in Florida?
      There’s got to be a catch.

    3. Julian says:

      Action alert:
      Call your Senators and tell them to support the House version of the hemp research amendment to the Farm Bill.
      The American Farm Bureau Federation just endorsed the amendment 5 days ago! This is really happening at the Federal Level; industrial hemp is about to be descheduled possibly this wednesday after the State of the Union address.
      The House version of the hemp research amendment allows the cultivation of hemp in Universities where states have already legalized hemp. Colorado had the first legal hemp harvest in the U.S. last September since the Hemp for Victory campaign in WWII.
      Yet the House version does not distinguish marijuana from industrial hemp as the Senate version did. Cannabis Sativa is taxonomically classified as the same species of Cannabis Sativa Ruderalis under U.S. Federal law. The U.S. Is the only country in the world that does not legally distinguish industrial hemp from psychoactive varieties of cannabis.
      Hemp requires no pesticides or herbicides. Hemp requires less water and contains more celulose than corn, making it a better choice for ethanol, building materials and food. And hemp is homegrown medicine.
      If this hemp research amendment passes wednesday, the drug war will tip unto irreversible decline.

    4. Starmage says:

      WoW …. Am so glad this is happening .As a diabetic with severe neuropathic pain I have been waiting so long for this. Go Florida and pass this !!!

    5. This is very exciting news, we have been waiting a very long time for this in Florida! There is no stopping it now, hundreds of thousands if not millions of Florida residents will soon be able to legally get the relief and therapy they need using this natural plant that gives us so much and asks for so little in return. Companies in Florida are poised and ready to rise to the opportunity and provide this kind medicine to registered patients that need it. I am very optimistic about the future of MMJ here in Florida and very proud to be a Floridian today 🙂


    6. Julian says:

      The Hemp Research Amendment has MADE IT into the FARM BILL!!!!!
      The following is a copy of the agreement that will vote into law this wednesday. Tom Murphy, the outreach coordinator from votehemp sent me a copy. The U.S. of A just re-legalized the the most valuable cash crop in our nation’s history and I couldn’t find any major news reporting on anything in the Farm Bill except for foodstamps. This is huge. It will allow the research of hemp at Universities where states have legalized industrial hemp. This is a BIG slap in the face for Michelle Leonhart and a HUGE defeat for the C.S.Act. Enjoy:
      2 (a) IN GENERAL.—Notwithstanding the Controlled
      3 Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), the Safe and
      4 Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act (20 U.S.C. 7101
      5 et seq.), chapter 81 of title 41, United States Code, or
      6 any other Federal law, an institution of higher education
      7 (as defined in section 101 of the Higher Education Act
      8 of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001)) or a State department of agriculture may grow or cultivate industrial hemp if—
      10 (1) the industrial hemp is grown or cultivated
      11 for purposes of research conducted under an agricultural pilot program or other agricultural or academic
      13 research; and
      14 (2) the growing or cultivating of industrial
      15 hemp is allowed under the laws of the State in which
      16 such institution of higher education or State department of agriculture is located and such research occurs.
      19 (b) DEFINITIONS.—In this section:
      21 term ‘‘agricultural pilot program’’ means a pilot program to study the growth, cultivation, or marketing
      23 of industrial hemp—
      24 (A) in States that permit the growth or
      25 cultivation of industrial hemp under the laws of
      26 the State; and
      VerDate 0ct 09 2002 18:58 Jan 27, 2014 Jkt 000000 PO 00000 Frm 00698 Fmt 6652 Sfmt 6201 C:\DOCUME~1\GMKOSTKA\APPLIC~1\SOFTQUAD\XMETAL\5.5\GEN\C\CONFRP~1.XML
      January 27, 2014 (6:58 p.m)
      1 (B) in a manner that—
      2 (i) ensures that only institutions of
      3 higher education and State departments of
      4 agriculture are used to grow or cultivate
      5 industrial hemp;
      6 (ii) requires that sites used for growing or cultivating industrial hemp in a
      8 State be certified by, and registered with,
      9 the State department of agriculture; and
      10 (iii) authorizes State departments of
      11 agriculture to promulgate regulations to
      12 carry out the pilot program in the States
      13 in accordance with the purposes of this
      14 section.
      15 (2) INDUSTRIAL HEMP.—The term ‘‘industrial
      16 hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any
      17 part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a
      18 delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not
      19 more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.

      Congratulations America. There’s no turning back now. (Hey, isn’t Cannabis Sativa L. a variety of Indica? I thought Industrial hemp was a strain of Cannabis Sativa Ruderalis?) Oh well: This House version doesn’t remove the definition of hemp from marijuana so Universities can grow whatever they want I guess.
      In the words of Craig Furgeson, It’s a good day to be in America everybody.

    7. Chris says:

      Where can people help spread the word? I would love to help educate the people and try to get all of those people to vote this November.


    8. Justin says:

      Score 1 for Florida. I will be voting to pass it in November. Maybe we can be the state that revolutionizes how people see marijuana.

    9. T Rock says:

      Thank you Florida for joining in this fight for legal access to the peoples choice for medicine! We don’t want ” A pot store on every corner” Just our freedom of choice when it comes to our medicine.

    10. Tim says:

      Ok Florida lets not screw this one up! We should be able to get 60% of voters to vote in favor for this law. Lets move forward now Florida.