Florida Medical Marijuana on Ballot as Constitutional Change

Image: Florida Medical Marijuana on Ballot as Constitutional Change Gov. Rick Scott, right, Attorney General Pam Bondi, center, House Speaker Will Weatherford

Tuesday, 28 Jan 2014 12:51 PM

By Michael Mullins

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Medical marijuana could become legal in Florida if a proposed constitutional amendment is approved on the November ballot.

The state Supreme Court narrowly approved a November ballot initiative in a 4-3 decision on Monday.

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The ballot allowance was a victory for personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who spent $4 million on a medical marijuana petition drive that was opposed by Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, the Associated Press reported.

Bondi argued that the language in the ballot initiative was misleading and would lead to more widespread use of marijuana than voters intend.

"The people of Florida don't like when their vote is tried to be suppressed," Morgan said following the state Supreme Court decision. "Unfortunately there's some politicians in the state who did not want the people to have the say and they forgot that the power is in the people and democracy is based in the people."

Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford, who backed Bondi in her attempt to prevent the ballot initiative, has a different perspective.

"This is about the Coloradofication of Florida, where the end game is a pot shop on every street corner," Weatherford said in a statement issued through a spokesman. "I have faith they will do their homework and understand the impact of this truly radical proposal."

Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who opposes the medical marijuana constitutional amendment, backed Bondi's attempt to keep the measure off the ballot.

"I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative," Scott said in a statement released by his office. "But having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it. No matter my personal beliefs, however, a ballot initiative would be up to the voters to decide."

Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

Last year Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. The District of Columbia, along with California, Arizona, and Oregon are now said to be planning their own voter-driven initiatives to legalize the drug for recreational use.

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