Marijuana Legalization Initiatives Will Be on the 2016 Ballot for Nine States Including Florida
Posted on October 19, 2016 by Jeffrey Feiler2016 has already been a big year for medical marijuana, especially for Floridians. Presently, 25 states plus Washington, D.C. have passed Medical Marijuana laws. Four of those States, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Alaska, have legalized recreational marijuana as well. Many cities throughout the nation, including some in Florida, have passed ordinances which effectively decriminalize marijuana. For example, allowing police to write a civil infraction citation instead of making an arrest for possession of small quantities of marijuana. As a Board Member of United for Care and a Florida medical marijuana lawyer, this is a sign of the great changes coming that will make affordable medical care readily available for those who need it.
However, there is still much work left to be done to bring good legislation forward. There has still been no change in the Federal laws, which continue to make Marijuana illegal. This year, the DEA refused to downgrade Marijuana from Schedule One, maintaining that Marijuana has no proven medical value. Nevertheless, the United States Attorney General has issued memoranda for several years now advising that Marijuana businesses will not be subjected to prosecution in states with Marijuana laws and a system of robust enforcement.
On November 8, 2016, during the Presidential election, voters in numerous states will have the opportunity to vote for or against Marijuana initiatives. Here is a summary of those States and initiatives which will be on the ballots;
Arizona – Proposition 205, Arizona's Marijuana Legalization Initiative. If passed, Prop 205 will permit adults ages 21 and up to possess and recreationally use one ounce or less of marijuana. Marijuana advocates would also be allowed to grow up to six plants in their home under the law. Arizona already permits the use of medical marijuana.
Arkansas – The residents of Arkansas are set to vote on two marijuana measures: Arkansas Issue 7 Medical Cannabis Statute and Arkansas Medical Marijuana Issue 6. If the majority vote "yes" for Issue 6, then medical marijuana will be legal and dispensary and cultivation license fees will receive a cap. Patient card fees would not have a limit. A Medical Marijuana Commission would also be established and sales taxes would be spread across three funds. The law would also require the Arkansas Department of Health to create rules for patient cards, marijuana producers, and sellers. Lastly, the department would be responsible for determining the qualifications of medical conditions.
California – Medical cannabis has been legal in California since 1996. Proposition 64, also called the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would legalize recreational marijuana and hemp for people ages 21 and older. The law mandates a cultivation tax on flowers and leaves, as well as a 15 percent retail tax on marijuana.
Florida – Amendment 2 legalizes medical marijuana for patients suffering from specific debilitating diseases including cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, PTSD, ALS, Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis. If the measure passes, licensed state physicians would be able to prescribe medical marijuana to those suffering from comparable debilitating conditions. Florida already has in place a couple of very limited Medical Marijuana laws involving a handful of Dispensing Organizations and relief for terminal patients. The Amendment presumably will pave the way for a much larger industry and more effective distribution.
Maine – Question 1 (2016) would legalize recreational use of marijuana throughout the state, which has allowed legal medical marijuana since 1999. Should the majority of voters check "yes" for Maine Marijuana Legalization, adults 21 and up will be allowed to use and possess cannabis. The state's Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry would regulate retail stores, and a 10 percent tax will be placed on all marijuana sales.
Massachusetts – Question 4 would fully legalize marijuana with regulations similar to the state's approach to alcoholic beverages. Massachusetts already allows medical marijuana.
Montana – Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative I-182 is an Amendment to the already-passed Montana Medical Marijuana Act. Should the new measure pass, the current medical marijuana laws will be adjusted to allow more patients access to medical marijuana. The law would also permit providers to hire workers to cultivate, dispense, and transport medical marijuana to patients.
Nevada – People ages 21 and older would be able to possess and use up to one ounce of marijuana for recreational purposes under Nevada's Question 2.
North Dakota – Initiated Statutory Measure 5 gives patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, Hepatitis C, ALS, glaucoma, and epilepsy access to medical marijuana with a specific identification card. Called the North Dakota Compassionate Care Act, the amendment would also institute specific procedures and regulations for growing and dispensing medical marijuana.
For more information regarding the national marijuana industry or about the possibility of starting a marijuana business in Florida or Colorado, contact the Jeffrey Feiler Law Firm at (305) 662-5663.