Amendment 2: Medical Marijuana in Florida

The legalization of marijuana in Florida has been a long road. When legislation about Amendment 2: Medical Marijuana in Florida first was brought to the ballot in 2014, it was defeated. Even though there was an overwhelming support with a 57.62 percent majority voting in favor of the amendment, due to the Florida state constitution which requires a 60 percent supermajority vote for an amendment to pass, the amendment was a failure.

However, this didn’t stop John Morgan, the central advocate as well as one of the largest donors to the cause. He instead began planning a “re-run” for 2016 in regards to Amendment 2. The new initiative would include specific language that would clarify different issues that were rather foggy the first time around which caused some opponents of Amendment 2 to be concerned about.

Instead, in 2016 the measure made it clear that in regards to minors using medical marijuana, they would absolutely need to have parental consent to do so. It also went further to explicitly define what was meant by “debilitating” illness that would cause someone to qualify for the usage of medical marijuana. The measure was sure to explain and address the concerns when it came to caregivers and doctors. Under this Amendment, they would not be immune from potential malpractice claims or for negligence claims in regards to prescribing marijuana and would also in turn, place a limit on how many patients a doctor or caregiver is allowed to treat with the drug.

The Department of Health would be able to register and regulate all centers that yield and distribute medical marijuana as well as ensure that all recipients and caregivers are issued identification cards. Financially, there would need to be additional costs in terms of regulation and enforcement of the regulations that are associated with the sale, production, possession, and usage of medical marijuana. There would more than likely be some sort of sales tax applied to the majority of the purchases which would as a result, cause a generous increase in state and local government annual revenues.

For many who opposed the Amendment in 2014, a great fear was that the use of the medical marijuana wouldn’t be regulated enough and the usage could get out of control. With the introduction of explicit language in the re-run of the Amendment in 2016, much of these concerns were put to rest and with the projected economic benefits, the legalization of medical marijuana could serve to benefit the entire state.

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