Here we go again!
Florida’s medical marijuana initiative is back and, its backers say, new and improved.
The proposed amendment, submitted Thursday to the Florida Secretary of State’s office, closely resembles the 2014 initiative that narrowly failed at the ballot box — however it was rewritten throughout in an attempt to quiet critics who said it had too many loopholes.
The amendment backers, People United for Medical Marijuana, on Monday will start gathering the 683,149 voter signatures needed to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.
“I’mmmmmmmm baaaaaaaaaack,” joked John Morgan, the wealthy Orlando trial lawyer who sunk about $4 million of his own money into last year’s effort.
“Last time I did this, it was like a maze,” Morgan says. “Well, I’ve been through it once. I know how to do this. We made a lot of mistakes and we won’t make them this time.”
The new proposal specifies that parents would have to consent if their child is to receive medical marijuana. It adds extra language to clarify that only people with “debilitating medical conditions” can receive the drug. It makes sure to say that it can only be recommended by a licensed medical physician. And the Department of Health would be empowered to deny felons the ability to be so-called “caregivers” who deliver marijuana for a qualified patient.
All of those issues were brought up by opponents in 2014. But it’s not as if last year’s amendment was unpopular. It garnered 57.6 percent of the vote. However, it failed because it takes 60 percent to pass an amendment to the state Constitution.As I pointed out many times, those weren't loopholes. Every restriction and clarification that is in this new amendment could have been written into the rules and regulations that would have surely followed had Amendment 2 passed.
There was one argument that was made against Amendment 2 that did have some validity. Medical marijuana isn't something that we should have to put in the state constitution. The legislature and the governor should act to craft a reasonable medical marijuana policy for our state.
Florida politicians doing what they should do, imagine that. You may call me a dreamer...