Florida Supreme Court approves medical marijuana initiative for November ballot
Associated Press , Alex Hobson
2:21 PM, Jan 27, 2014
6:30 PM, Jan 28, 2014
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - A Florida measure that would allow the use of medical marijuana has cleared its final hurdle and will be on the November ballot.
The state Supreme Court on Monday approved the language for the proposed constitutional amendment.
The justices approved the ballot summary 4-3 just three days after a petition drive reached the required number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot.
"I'm surprised fireworks aren't going off in Florida," said medical marijuana supporter "Captain Cannabis."
The decision is a defeat for Attorney General Pam Bondi, who challenged the ballot language by saying it's misleading.
Calvina Fay, the executive director of Drug Free America Foundation, Inc. and Save Our Society from Drugs, agrees with Bondi.
"It is extremely unfortunate that the Supreme Court ruled to approve the proposed amendment. If this is passed, it will create a major change in Florida's law and culture. I can assure you that it will not be in the best interest of Floridians," Fay said.
Personal injury lawyer John Morgan has spent about $4 million to place the issue before voters. He is the chairman of the organization that spearheaded the medical marijuana push in Florida: "United for Care"
"We're doing this for the thousands, probably hundreds of thousands, of sick people in the state of Florida," said United for Care regional organizer Bianca Garza. "
The proposed constitutional amendment surpassed the number of needed voter signatures on Friday. Elections supervisors have certified 710,508 signatures, more than the 683,149 needed to get on the ballot.
The proposed constitutional amendment would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana to people with debilitating conditions. But opponents are worried it would open the door for abuse.
"We've seen marijuana legalized as so called medicine in other states with disastrous results," Fay said. "When people really understand what this is about they recognize it for what it is - full blown legalization of marijuana."
Gov. Rick Scott is opposed to medical marijuana. His Democratic challengers, state Sen. Nan Rich and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both support it.
Garza said she is confident this issue will pass in November. It would need a 60 percent approval from voters to become state law.