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Politics

Medical Marijuana Petition Inches Closer to 2016 Ballot

October 1, 2015 - 5:30pm

The petition to get medical marijuana back on the ballot for 2016 is quickly gaining momentum in Florida, with the People United for Medical Marijuana (United for Care) collecting over 220,000 valid signatures as of Thursday.

In order for the petition to legalize medical marijuana to get back on the ballot, United For Care must collect a little over 683,000 valid signatures. 

United For Care’s constitutional amendment petition would allow for the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver. It would also prohibit physicians from being subject to criminal or civil liabilities under Florida law for issuing a prescription for medical marijuana.

Medical pot would only be allowed for use for those with “debilitating” medical conditions which would include cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.

This isn’t United For Care’s first time trying to put medial pot on voters’ radars. Last year, the group largely funded by Orlando lawyer John Morgan fought tooth and nail to get voters to approve the amendment, but it ultimately fell three points short of getting the 60 percent voter approval to be legalized in the Sunshine State. 

Morgan sent out an email to supporters last week saying the group had already gathered over 500,000 signatures to date, which is about the halfway point for signatures. The signed petitions are then sent over to the various supervisors of elections where they are validated within 30 days. 

“This is exciting news - and we are way ahead of where we were in 2013,” wrote Morgan.

“Make no mistake – I will do what I can to alleviate the pain of those suffering – and make sure those that are responsible for this delay feel pain politically,” he said in a separate statement.

United For Care isn’t the only organization trying to get marijuana back on the ballot. Another group, Floridians for Freedom, which is associated with Florida Cannabis Action Network (Florida CAN) is also pushing a petition that would legalize marijuana for everyone aged 21 and older, not just those with medical conditions. 

That group, however, doesn’t have quite as many valid signatures to get its proposal on the ballot -- as of Thursday, the group had zero validated signatures. 

In order for a ballot initiative to even be considered, any citizen-driven initiative must first gather 70,000 validated petitions to trigger a review from the state attorney general, who will read the amendment language and determine whether it meets requirements for clarity. 

After the attorney general gives the stamp of approval, groups are required to collect 683,149 petitions to get the initiative on the ballot. 
 

Reach Allison Nielsen at allison@sunshinestatenews.com.

Comments

Let me run this make-believe scenario past you: Imagine if we could wave a magic wand and grant democrat John Morgan and his team of lawyers their wish . . . full legalization of marijuana to be used by anybody with a medical need or otherwise. There would be no law, statute or amendment -- it would just be completely legal. Do you think Johnny boy would cancel his petition-signing campaign to make this dream happen? No, he would not. Why? Because how can he garner political power, votes and other forms of self-enrichment if there is no "law" regulating and controlling its use? This is a profitable corporation of trial attorneys (in cahoots with politicians) works. Now go roast a fatty and contemplate that -- instead of your navel.

I suffer from Glaucoma, extreme and chronic lower back pain due to a pinched nerve and scoliosis with damaged lowest 3rd, 4th, and 5th vertibrae, and chronic and severe PTSD. I've tried a hugh variety of medications to no avail for my aches and pains to no avail. I tried marijuana and had immediate relief that lasted for hours. Please vote for Medical Cannibis, as I'm sure thousands of Florida residents would also have immediate and long lasting relief for a wide variety of ailments.

The Legislator already passed a bill to allow medical marijuana and they have also come up with a patch to deliver precise dosages of therapeutic, non-euphoric marijuana for those in need, so why is this amendment necessary? Only 3% of marijuana users have terminal or life threatening diseases. So, is this being used as a ruse to legalize marijuana as they have in Colorado? Shouldn't we learn from the mistake they made as their Governor is now very sorry he passed it? An article in the paper just released shows a study links accidents to legalization of pot. There have been many articles showing how many people are getting ready to grow marijuana and sell it. Follow the money trail. This will only make the wrong people rich, while the taxpayer again will have to pay for the damages it creates with it's unintended consequences. Keep in mind, that it is VERY difficult to overturn it, once it is passed.

I agree with Dean, Esther. You and many folks like you, are easily swayed by the sitting politicians in Tallahassee and you and yours swallow every word they say, truthful or not, and consume it as though it was some form of cash they were giving you, instead of the lies they spout. Check out the real facts, not what those opposed say, but actual facts regarding the issue and then return with some knowledge. Unfortunately for you, right now, your comments only appear as though they're coming from a loon!

Oh Esther, you keep coming up with the same mis-informed propaganda. Don't you get tired of lying for politicans? There is a form of legal medical cannabis called Charlottes Web. As to patches, nope no such thing, not a single dose has been delivered yet. Are you embarrassed yet? As to high THC? Well, it has medical uses too. Further, there is thousands of years of history of Medical Cannabis use. You really need to do some research and quit listening to whoever is feeding you the BS. You are even parroting the line of wait. BTW. CO Gov is happy with what has happened. See, you got fed so many lies that you look foolish.

Have they checked the information coming out of Co. on traffic accidents. They have increased since Pot was made legal. So now with crazies drivers on the road they want to make it worse by making pot legal. Wake up an stop trying to kill more people with this.

As is noted in comments above, as long as "Medical Cannabis" is placed in the same sentence as "Recreational Marijuana" there will be a serious problem in getting any real traction with the general public believing that "Medical Cannabis" has a legitimate place as a medicine. There must be a true separation as one is a Medicine and one is for Recreational purposes. I have had first-hand experience with the ravages on the human body of vomiting, bloody diarrhea and wasting away from cancer. I went through all the medicines my doctors prescribed and had no positive results. There are no current medical drugs that are as Safe and Effective as Medical Cannabis that work on these issues. There are numerous other medical problems that are well-documented that demonstrate Medical Cannabis' real value. If you were one of the patients suffering, I wonder what your feelings would be? No threats, no guilt, just trying to be human and I do remember the nights suffering on my bathroom floor! MannyJ

This is very IMPORTANT Subject Matter if you are one of the hundreds of thousands of Floridians who need this medicine. Please EDIT your articles so that they are PROFESSIONAL and ACCURATE! Medical Cannabis does not need to be a Constitutional Amendment in FLorida. It needs to be a Federal issue as it is a MEDICINE. Let's SHOUT OUT for our "Patients-In-Need!" How Many More Men, Women and Children Must Die Before WE DEMAND our Government to Federally Legalize Medical Cannabis? I am Co-Founder of the Compassionate Cannabis Community which serves as an unbiased, information source on the medical cannabis industry to state, federal and foreign governments. My credentials include a 30-year career as one of the leaders in the international specialty/floral industry, a strong medical/scientific/research background working with leading universities to design and develop pioneering products, a research associate of the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, a documentary filmmaker/writer with training from the number one film school in the world, and a tremendous compassion for children, veterans and all patients suffering from debilitating diseases. I have written over 170 articles both for and against medical cannabis that have appeared in print internationally, and testified in 5 states and 3 countries. I began this journey into medical cannabis with a great deal of skepticism,but after interviewing and witnessing story after story of real people with real success stories using medical cannabis as a last resort and, at the cost of losing my career and credibility, I can no longer turn away from "Patients-In-Need." Conclusions: There are over 2,300 verified medical/scientific studies that CLEARLY demonstrate the Safety, Effectiveness and Benefits of medical cannabis. Medical Cannabis must be separated from Recreational Cannabis. One is for the treatment of a disease and the other is for recreational purposes. It is up to our society to decide this aspect. Medical Cannabis MUST be controlled on a Federal Level NOT a State Level. This is medicine and must be treated as such by trained and licensed medical professionals, pharmacists, and our healthcare systems.There are numerous states that have medical cannabis programs and not one of them currently requires the testing of medical cannabis for a variety of toxins prior to being dispensed to patients! So, how can a physician in good faith "prescribe" medical cannabis to their patients? Medical Cannabis must be Rescheduled from a Schedule I Controlled Substance (definition: No medical Benefits,highly addictive, no way to medically supervise, for example, Heroin) to a Schedule III Controlled (definition: Lower physical and psychological addiction, proven medical benefit, for example, Marinol- a synthetic form of THC which is the psychoactive ingredient in Cannabis and is approved by the FDA for the legal treatment of numerous diseases.) This Rescheduling will open up both public and private research and development on medical cannabis. It will also remove the IRC 280E Federal Tax of up to 80% on all things Cannabis. So much is published in the media about "All the MONEY being made on Cannabis Sales." what this refers to are the tax dollars, both state and federal, that are being generated. 80% percent in Federal Taxes with limited business deductions makes an impossible ability to make a profit. The U.S. Government through the NIH holds numerous patients on Cannabis compounds. Our Government used the same medical studies to obtain these patents that the National Institute of Drug Abuse, NIDA, uses to keep Cannabis a Schedule I Controlled Substance. Please think about and question this logic! I am in the process of petitioning the President to Reschedule Medical Cannabis from A I to a III, petitioning Congress to help our Patients-in-Need, and creating a Crowdfunding Community to get these jobs done! If you want to help in any way, please let me know as this takes a Village to accomplish! Abundant Blessings, Manny Johnson, CEO, COmpassionate Cannabis Community, compassionatecannabis.org

Medical reasons, my eye! Getting medical marijuana accepted is the most important initial step to allowing full strength marijuana and other mind altering substances to be used like alcohol, a mind altering substance. Perhaps there ought to be a competitive petition against the sham of accepting and legalizing medical marijuana. Anyone want to bother with that cause? Oh! There is no money in opposing medical marijuana. But there IS BIG MONEY in getting medical marijuana accepted because it is a major step towards routine uses of it like alcohol. Alcohol is BIG business and legal and smuggled drugs is BIG business. Readers, medical marijuana is a mistake that you just don't fathom as yet.

Gee Garth, you simply have no idea on what you're speaking against! Thank God people have free will and choice in this state!

Gee Garth. Don't you love that tea? There are any of us who have worked for real Medical Cannabis reform for years. Is there money in it? Yea. At least if you believe in freemarket principles As to full legalization? That is the fault of naysayers and the politicians you elected. Folks have watched how our lawmakers have failed and are cutting out the politicians. It's your fault! By preventing real Medical Cannabis reform Patients have suffered and died. By preventing Medical Cannabis there will be a real wild west if rec use passes. All of the bad and none of the good rests on your shoulders and of those like you. In a way, I pity you and those like you. For decades you ruled us your way and your way, like the dinosaurs will become extinct.

Mr. Franklin: Will you promise, promise, promise to never, ever. ever drive any sort of vehicle after or during your use of mind altering substances? Nothing rests on my shoulders other than being fully knowledgeable about the effects of the referenced mind altering substances to vehicle drivers and their driving performance. And I appreciate your pity on me though it is a global expression that is meaningless. How do you feel about carrying guns?

Hahaha... OK. I don't drive impaired. Until Medical Cannabis becomes a reality I am limited to several perscription narcotics, with no restriction on driving, except I don't drive under impaired. There was a time when I used both and didn't drive impaired. Granted, there will be those who will. Just as they do with alcohol and legal drugs. Guns? Own em, shoot em, not a problem as long as you don't hurt anybody. Open carry? Nope. Especially long guns. Whenever I see pix I think " yep, shoot the bad guy and 2 people down range". Concealed? All for it, if they would really train first. A few hours class and a couple mags sent downrange are not enough. Training has always been the 1st rule. Know your weapon, know your ammo and know yourself. Know when to shoot and when to not. Know if you miss, or if you through-shot, what will you hit.

Manny. While I would agree with much of your comment, you are wrong about waiting for politicans to act. Their very inaction requires Medical Cannabis be a Constitutional matter. As long as republicants are in charge of the process, there will be no action. They have already proved they will not act. In fact, for years, they have refused to even give a single hearing to any bill for real reform. Keep up your good work, but quit undercutting the efforts of those of us working for immediate action. Your statement will be seen as support for waiting... for years, as Patients suffer and die and are arrested and jailed for using a plant. You also failed to mention that there is proof Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. That at the time of prohibition the AMA was against prohibition and wanted to continue study. I am fighting ForThePatients!

Dean, you hit the nail on its' head! The lazy, do nothing republicants would rather have their 'special sessions' after their normal legislative meetings in order to collect even more money they've yet to earn, honestly! I hate to admit this but, as a registered republican, I once believed the party would do a better job at protecting my investment, (my home) and also protect the rights of ALL Floridians. I'm ashamed to admit that I was wrong. Those in office in Tallahassee are nothing more than greedy, some corrupt, some simply ignorant, and most deny the truth. It truly seems as though the only way the CITIZENS and TAXPAYERS can be sure of having a say in this current government is to have a campaign for a constitutional amendment, which if successful, sometimes the passed measure is ignored by the governor. With that said, I'm reminded of former Governor Martinez who simply ignored the bill requiring English as the spoken language in Florida, and allowed the measure to die rather than truly representing the more than 86% of voters across the state who voted in favor of the amendment. Right or wrong, it was another republicant who ignored the vast majority solely for his own political gain. Obviously, history shows his ignorance backfired on him!

Well said Mark. You show the difference between a Republican and a republicant and do it well.

A little 'screwed up' on your EDITING this morning, huh SSN ?

Real Medical Cannabis reform will be on the ballot next year and it will pass. It is not for lawmakers, it is ForThePatients!

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