Florida came very close to legalizing medical marijuana in 2014. A medical marijuana initiative failed by just roughly 2% on Election Day. Had the initiative been in just about any other state, it would have passed, but Florida requires 60% of the vote when it involves constitutional amendments. The 2014 Florida medical marijuana initiative received more votes than any statewide candidate in Florida that same year.
Since the vote was so close, and an overwhelming majority of Floridians clearly want medical marijuana, advocates were hopeful that the Florida Legislature would step up, have some compassion, and do what is right by passing a real medical marijuana bill this session. Unfortunately, it appears that won’t be happening, at least not this session. Per Marijuana Business Daily:
An attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Florida this year via the state Legislature is “effectively dead,” a key lawmaker behind the effort said.
Sen. Jeff Brandes, R-St. Petersburg, sponsored a bill that at first had the support of the 2014 campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the state, but he told the Bradenton Herald on Wednesday that the measure and a companion bill have stalled.
Brandes pledged to keep working on the issue and return in the 2016 legislative session with another attempt, both at legalizing MMJ and also speeding up implementation of a CBD-only bill that was signed into law last year but has hit administrative roadblocks.
Medical marijuana laws in Florida should be based on science, not political views and fear mongering. Fortunately, United for Care has an effort underway right now that will hopefully make the 2016 ballot. If so, the 2016 effort should have a better chance of passing than the 2014 effort since it’s a Presidential election year, and the initiative and campaign will be more tailored.