Last Update: October 9, 2014
Medical marijuana on the ballot, early voting begins soon
On November 4, Florida voters will be asked whether seriously ill residents of the Sunshine State should be allowed to use medical marijuana with a valid doctor’s recommendation and whether the state should register and regulate medical marijuana dispensaries. Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have effective medical marijuana programs in place. Should a sufficient number of voters vote “YES” on Question 2, Florida will be come the 24th state and the first in the South!
Please spread the word about seriously ill patients’ need for this humane measure. If you are interested in helping Question 2 in the final push, please contact the campaign for available volunteer opportunities.
Florida Legislature passes CBD bill; bill introduced to legalize, regulate marijuana
Shortly before adjourning the 2014 legislative session, Florida lawmakers passed a bill that exempts a limited group of very sick people from criminal laws for using marijuana that is low in THC and high in CBD if certain requirements are met. Gov. Rick Scott signed the bill on June 16, 2014. Unfortunately, the law leaves many patients behind and may not help even those it’s meant to. A summary of the new law is available here.
In addition to considering various medical marijuana provisions, the legislature was presented with legislation that would have taxed and regulated marijuana like Colorado, a public policy proposal that St. Pete's Polls found 58.8% of Floridians support. Unfortunately, the legislation, introduced by Rep. Randolph Bracy, was not voted on, but all Floridians should email their lawmakers in support of sensible marijuana policies. Finally, if you are a victim of marijuana prohibition and would like to help reform the current laws, please let us know.
To receive news about Florida marijuana policy reform as it happens, be sure to subscribe to MPP's free legislative alert service, if you haven't done so already.
Courts reject suspicionless drug testing law
An ACLU suit to enjoin implementation of a 2011 law, signed by Gov. Scott, requiring new applicants for temporary welfare assistance funded by TANF to undergo, and pay for out of pocket, mandatory and suspicionless drug tests was declared unconstitutional in October 2011. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, one of the more conservative federal appeals courts, upheld the decision. In April 2014, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear Gov. Scott’s appeal, letting the appeal court decision stand.
However, despite failing at every level, Gov. Rick Scott continues his quest to drug test welfare recipients. The governor has filed a brief in appellate court seeking to re-argue the state’s right to drug test all individuals seeking welfare benefits.
Court established defense
Despite the fact that a medical necessity defense has been established by Florida case law, patients remain at risk of being arrested and jailed because legislators have yet to enact a medical marijuana law. To review a 1991 case that outlines Florida's medical necessity defense, click here.
Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. If you have any questions concerning the status of marijuana policy reform in Florida, you can contact us by email at email@example.com.