Amendment could legalize Florida medical marijuana

7:11 PM, Jan 16, 2014   |    comments
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In this photo taken Tuesday, May 14, 2013, Medical marijuana vials are displayed at the Venice Beach Care Center medical marijuana dispensary in Venice, Calif. Los Angeles politicians have tried and failed for so long to regulate medical marijuana that it was only a matter of time before voters got a chance to control shops that have proliferated. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)


ST. PETERSBURG, Florida -- United for Care, funded by Florida mega law firm Morgan & Morgan, has succeeded in gathering nearly 1.1 million petitions from Floridians who support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana.

STORY: Florida one step closer to medical marijuana on ballot

The group says it's in the final stages of getting the proposed amendment on the November ballot. If approved, it would allow for the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases.

The amendment includes the following:

  • That determination must be made by a licensed Florida physician
  • It would allow for caregivers to provide assistance
  • The Department of Health would register and regulate both producers and distributors
  • ID cards would be issued to patients and caregivers
  • Non-medical use, possession or production would not be allowed

"You have to jump through a few more hoops than you would for a prescription for morphine or Adderall," says United for Care campaign manager Ben Pollara.

Opponents, including Florida's attorney general Pam Bondi, fear the way the amendment is written is too vague, and could result in dispensaries dolling out pot for virtually any ache or pain.

The Attorney General's Office would not comment on the proposal Thursday citing a challenge to the amendment's wording filed with the Florida Supreme Court.

"One group says it's simply the ability to obtain medical marijuana for certain ailments, and the other group points out the wording would allow almost unfettered access as long as its recommended by a physician- which could include a podiatrist or chiropractor," said Jeff Scott, general counsel for the Florida Medical Association. "Doctors, in general, don't believe smoking is a safe delivery mechanism of any particular type of medication."

But supporters of the amendment say in the end, it should be up to a doctor and patient to make health decisions together, not politicians in Tallahassee.

"Our position is there is no logical place for that decision to be made other than the patient doctor relationship," said Pollara.

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