Last Update: November 5, 2014
Strong majority votes for medical marijuana, advocates look to 2015 or 2016
On November 4, 2014, a strong majority of Florida voters cast their votes to allow medical marijuana — 58% according to unofficial results. But, in Florida, a landslide victory is not enough. Several media outlets have called the race, finding that Amendment 2 did not get the 60% that was required to pass this compassionate state constitutional amendment.
Seriously ill patients have two hopes for eventual relief: The legislature could listen to the will of voters and enact medical marijuana protections. If they fail to do so, John Morgan — a successful attorney who funded most of the Amendment 2 campaign — has said he intends to work to put another measure on the November 2016 ballot.
Please take a moment to write your legislators to ask them to stand up for Floridians who could benefit from medical cannabis.
Florida Legislature passes CBD bill; bill introduced to legalize, regulate marijuana
Shortly before adjourning its 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.