Two years ago, Floridians narrowly rejected an amendment that would have allowed legal medical marijuana in the state.
- Amendment 2 legalizes medical marijuana in Florida
- Essentially failed 2014 amendment with tweaks
- Needs 60 percent of vote to pass
- FLORIDA DECIDES COVERAGE: Latest headlines | How to vote in Florida
- MAKING SENSE OF FLORIDA'S AMENDMENTS:
- IN-DEPTH: Marijuana in Florida
The amendment is back for the 2016 ballot with a few minor tweaks, and renewed hope that voters this time will come out to make medical marijuana legal in Florida.
The amendment needs to win 60 percent of the vote in Florida to be added to the Constitution. Florida lawmakers and the Department of Health would set the regulations.
AMENDMENT 2 SUMMARY
Allows medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician.
Allows caregivers to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana.
The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.
Applies only to Florida law.
Does not immunize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
The full text of the proposed amendment is available on the Florida Division of Elections website. It shows how the amendment would fit in with Florida's Constitution. The amendment would change Article X, Section 29.
How does the 2016 amendment differ from the one in 2014?
The amendment clarifies parental consent for minors.
It also makes it clear that doctors are not immune from malpractice claims for negligently prescribing marijuana.
Who benefits from the amendment?
"Debilitating Medical Condition" includes people suffering from cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, or other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or comparable. Patients would only qualify if their physician determines that marijuana’s potential benefits outweigh the potential harms.
Could the amendment be interpreted to allow people to use marijuana for other reasons?
The amendment specifically says it does not affect or repeal laws related to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana. Additionally, the law doesn't authorize the use of medical marijuana for anyone other than the qualifying patient.
Doesn’t Florida already have legal medical marijuana?
The Florida legislature legalized one type of medical marijuana, a low-THC version called Charlotte’s Web, to help people suffering from epileptic seizures, cancer and other problems.
Gov. Rick Scott signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014.
Amendment 2 would open the door to more powerful strains of cannabis to be legally used in the state.
Can patients grow their own medicine?
No, only state-regulated medical marijuana treatment centers would be allowed to cultivate medical marijuana.
What’s a medical marijuana treatment center?
Medical marijuana treatment centers ensure that patients have safe access to their medical marijuana. They would be allowed to cultivate and sell medical marijuana to qualifying patients. They are also allowed to process it into related products, such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils or ointments.
How will medical marijuana treatment centers operate?
The "Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions" charges the Florida Department of Health with drafting rules for the operation of medical marijuana treatment centers. These rules must be finalized no later than six months after passage of the law.
Will my insurance cover the cost of medical marijuana?
Nothing in the language requires insurance providers to reimburse qualified patients for their medical use of marijuana.
Would Florida recognize patients from other states?
No. In order to qualify for protections, an individual must have a Florida medical marijuana card. Additionally, only physicians licensed in Florida may write medical marijuana certifications.
Who is supporting this amendment and why?
United for Care is again championing Amendment 2, with Orlando attorney John Morgan as the biggest advocate. The amendment also has wide support of Democratic and minority groups and unions.
The group says medical marijuana is helping patients find relief from their pain in 23 states and the District of Columbia. The group says medical marijuana use has support among medical groups such as the American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Academy of HIV Medicine and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Who is against the amendment and why?
Vote No on 2 is funded by Drug Free Florida Committee, which is run by Republican fundraiser Mel Sembler and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
In addition, the group Don’t Let Florida go to Pot opposes the amendment. The group is a coalition of health care, substance abuse, law enforcement and business groups, including Central Florida Hotel and Lodging Association, Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Police Chiefs Association and Florida Sheriffs Association.
The groups say the amendment would make Florida “one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, meaning physicians would be able to authorize marijuana for any condition, at any time, to anyone, of any age.”
They also take issue with the fact that doctors don't "prescribe" the drug but provide a "physician certification." They say that will open medical marijuana to the kind of abuse we've seen with prescription drug "pill mills."