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Medical Marijuana Is on the Ballot in Florida

by Countable | 10.31.16

Half of U.S. states have enacted medical marijuana laws, and this November Florida voters could amend their state’s constitution to create their own medical marijuana program.

What the Initiative Does

This initiative would amend the Florida constitution to allow use of marijuana by people with debilitating medical conditions like cancer, epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other diseases, as determined by a licensed doctor.

Caregivers would be allowed to assist patients’ medical use of marijuana. The Dept. of Health would register and regulate centers that produce and distribute medical marijuana, and issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.

The initiative explicitly says that this only applies to Florida laws and doesn’t protect Floridians for violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession, or production of marijuana.

This initiative will appear on Florida ballots on November 8 as "Amendment 2."

In Favor

Legalizing marijuana for medical use is a compassionate way of providing people with debilitating illnesses with alternative treatments so they don’t have to rely on pharmaceutical remedies that are less effective or have side effects.


Medical marijuana is unnecessary and leads to abuse by expanding access to the drug. There are plenty of synthetic substitutes that the pharmaceutical industry produces which have essentially the same effect as weed.

In Depth

This won’t be the first time that Floridians have voted on allowing medical marijuana at the state level. In 2014, a similar medical marijuana initiative won the approval of over 57 percent of voters, but it didn’t become law because it didn’t receive the 60 percent required to amend the state constitution. But the 2016 ballot measure is slightly different from the 2014 version. It includes a new parental consent requirement for use by minors, limits on the number of patients caregivers can assist, and opens doctors to malpractice claims for negligently prescribing marijuana.

The Florida legislature created a program that allowed the use of non-smoked, low-THC marijuana for certain medical patients in 2014. It has been in effect since the beginning of 2015.

25 states plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have enacted their own medical marijuana programs.

— Eric Revell


Written by Countable

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