No Opposition Raised to Florida Supreme Court on Proposed 2016 Medical Marijuana Amendment


Posted on November 06, 2015 by Jeffrey Feiler

In 2014, United for Care presented a proposed constitutional amendment for placement on the November 2014 ballot. The proposed amendment language needed to be reviewed and approved by the Florida Supreme Court. The 2014 Petition won Court Approval, despite strong opposition by Attorney General Bondi's Office, as well as the Florida Medical Association, Chamber of Commerce, Florida Sheriffs Association, and others.

In November 2014, fifty eight percent (58%) of Florida voters approved the ballot amendment. Despite 3.5 million favorable votes, the proposed amendment narrowly missed, as 60% approval is needed for passage of a constitutional amendment.

For 2016, United for Care has again submitted a proposed ballot amendment, which is presently before the Florida Supreme Court for review and approval. The big news is that none of the groups which opposed the amendment in 2014 have filed any opposition this year!

While this could mean is a speedier approval by the Supreme Court. It is a clear acknowledgment by Attorney General Bondi that this petition is likely to satisfy the Court.

The 2016 petition was changed (from the 2014 version) to clarify some points, particularly as it relates to parental consent and the process by which people can become caregivers. It also makes explicitly clear what the Supreme Court found was implied in the 2014 version, which is that medical marijuana can only be recommended by physicians to patients with serious, debilitating conditions.

Though the court will still need to approve the petition, it appears the most significant obstacle to getting it on the November 2016 ballot will be obtaining enough validated petitions before February of 2016. United for Care has already obtained 600,000 signatures and is trying for one million signatures. The actual number of verified petitions needed is approximately 700,000.

Attorney Jeffrey Feiler is an experienced medical marijuana lawyer and is a member of the Board of United for Care. Mr. Feiler is available to discuss the proposed amendment, and also to advise clients interested in becoming involved with medical marijuana in Florida.

In January and February 2106, the Florida Legislature will have the opportunity to pass an acceptable medical marijuana bill. However, the legislature has failed each year since 2012 to pass meaningful legislation on the subject. The only bill which passed, SB1030 (Low THC), is tragically flawed and still has not been implemented by the Department of Health. There does not seem to be much hope that the deeply divided legislature can pass a bill in the upcoming session.

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