January 27, 2014
the Florida Supreme Court ruled against Attorney General Pam Bondi's challenge to the state's proposed medical marijuana initiative, finding it adhered to the single subject requirement that the ballot title's intent was clear. This means that, come November, Florida voters will be asked to vote "yes" or "no" to medical marijuana. Since this is initiative will amend the state's constitution, it requires 60% to pass. Quinnipiac University found 82% of Floridians would support the medical marijuana constitutional amendment. StPetePolls.org found 73.5% of registered voters support the measure.
How Florida's justices voted
Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James Perry said the ballot language was clear.
"The proposed amendment has a logical and natural oneness of purpose -- namely, whether Floridians want a provision in the state constitution authorizing the medical use of marijuana, as determined by a licensed Florida physician," they wrote. "The ballot title and summary fairly inform voters of the chief purpose of the amendment and will not mislead voters, who will be able to cast an intelligent and informed ballot."
Justices Ricky Polston, Charles Canady and Jorge Labarga dissented.
"Placing this initiative's title and summary on the ballot will result in Floridians voting on a constitutional amendment in disguise," Polston wrote. He took issue with the ballot summary saying medical marijuana would be allowed for patients with debilitating diseases, but the amendment also allows the use for patients with debilitating conditions, which might not be a disease.
Who Can Register to Vote?
In order to register to vote in Florida, you must:
Be a Citizen of the United States of America (a lawful permanent resident is not a U.S. citizen);
Be a Florida resident;
Be 18 years old (you may pre-register to vote if you are 16 years old, but you cannot vote until you are 18 years old).
Not now be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored;
Not have been convicted of a felony without your civil rights having been restored; and
Provide your current and valid Florida driver's license number or Florida identification card number. If you do not have a Florida driver's license number or a Florida identification card number then you must provide the last four digits of your Social Security Number. If you do not have any of these items, you must write "none" in the box or field. Voter Registration Click Here..
Here is the summary the justices approved and will appear on the November ballot:
Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions
Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients' medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT PETITION LANGUAGE
BALLOT TITLE: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions
BALLOT SUMMARY: Allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. Allows caregivers to assist patients medical use of marijuana. The Department of Health shall register and regulate centers that produce and distribute marijuana for medical purposes and shall issue identification cards to patients and caregivers. Applies only to Florida law. Does not authorize violations of federal law or any non-medical use, possession or production of marijuana.
ARTICLE AND SECTION BEING AMENDED OR CREATED: Article X, Section 29
Full text of proposed constitutional amendment is as follows:
ARTICLE X, SECTION 29. Medical marijuana production, possession and use.
(a) PUBLIC POLICY.
(1) The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.
(2) A physician licensed in Florida shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law for issuing a physician certification to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition in a manner consistent with this section.
(3) Actions and conduct by a medical marijuana treatment center registered with the Department, or its employees, as permitted by this section and in compliance with Department regulations, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.
(b) DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) "Debilitating Medical Condition" means cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
(2) "Department" means the Department of Health or its successor agency.
(3) "Identification card" means a document issued by the Department that identifies a person who has a physician certification or a personal caregiver who is at least twenty-one (21) years old and has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana.
(4)"Marijuana" has the meaning given cannabis in Section 893.02(3), Florida Statutes (2013).
(5) "Medical Marijuana Treatment Center" means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers and is registered by the Department.
(6) "Medical use" means the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana or related supplies by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver for use by a qualifying patient for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition.
(7) "Personal caregiver" means a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana and has a caregiver identification card issued by the Department. A personal caregiver may assist no more than five (5) qualifying patients at one time. An employee of a hospice provider, nursing, or medical facility may serve as a personal caregiver to more than five (5) qualifying patients as permitted by the Department. Personal caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use by the qualifying patient.
(8) "Physician" means a physician who is licensed in Florida.
(9) "Physician certification" means a written document signed by a physician, stating that in the physician's professional opinion, the patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition, that the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient, and for how long the physician recommends the medical use of marijuana for the patient. A physician certification may only be provided after the physician has conducted a physical examination of the patient and a full assessment of the patient's medical history.
(10) "Qualifying patient" means a person who has been diagnosed to have a debilitating medical condition, who has a physician certification and a valid qualifying patient identification card. If the Department does not begin issuing identification cards within nine (9) months after the effective date of this section, then a valid physician certification will serve as a patient identification card in order to allow a person to become a "qualifying patient" until the Department begins issuing identification cards.
(1) Nothing in this section shall affect laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana.
(2) Nothing in this section authorizes the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.
(3) Nothing in this section allows the operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana.
(4) Nothing in this law section requires the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.
(5) Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.
(6) Nothing in this section shall require any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.
(d) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT. The Department shall issue reasonable regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this section. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. It is the duty of the Department to promulgate regulations in a timely fashion.
(1) Implementing Regulations. In order to allow the Department sufficient time after passage of this section, the following regulations shall be promulgated no later than six (6) months after the effective date of this section:
a. Procedures for the issuance of qualifying patient identification cards to people with physician certifications, and standards for the renewal of such identification cards.
b. Procedures for the issuance of personal caregiver identification cards to persons qualified to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana, and standards for the renewal of such identification cards.
c. Procedures for the registration of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.
d. A regulation that defines the amount of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patients, medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient's appropriate medical use.
(2) Issuance of identification cards and registrations. The Department shall begin issuing qualifying patient and personal caregiver identification cards, as well as begin registering Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers no later than nine months (9) after the effective date of this section.
(3) If the Department does not issue regulations, or if the Department does not begin issuing identification cards and registering Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers within the time limits set in this section, any Florida citizen shall have standing to seek judicial relief to compel compliance with the Department's constitutional duties.
(4) The Department shall protect the confidentiality of all qualifying patients. All records containing the identity of qualifying patients shall be confidential and kept from public disclosure other than for valid medical or law enforcement purposes.
(e) LEGISLATION. Nothing in this section shall limit the legislature from enacting laws consistent with this provision.
(f) SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this section are severable and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this measure, or an application thereof, is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction other provisions shall continue to be in effect to the fullest extent possible.