This poll confirms what other polls have shown all along–voters recognize it is time to do what legislature failed to do and pass a compassionate medical marijuana law letting doctors use their best judgement for their seriously debilitated patients.
Importantly, we are showing 13% higher support than we did at the exact same point in the 2014 campaign, 18 days before the election.
Still, we can’t let our guard down. We are still advertising and will continue to do so right until the end.
As such, we must continue to fundraise to pay for these communications. Please make a donation here now, and it will be matched 5-to-1.
Thank you. Onward to victory!
3 recreational marijuana petitions circulating in Florida for November 2016 ballot
Three proposed constitutional amendments would legalize marijuana for recreational use if approved by Florida voters in November 2016.Organizers have to collect at least 683,149 valid signature on each of their respective petitions to earn a place on the ballot, after earning approval from the Florida Division of Elections.One amendment OK’d in July would legalize recreational use for those 18 years and older.
Two other amendments were approved Wednesday.One of the recent amendments simply sought to legalize possession, use and cultivation of cannabis by anyone 21 and older, leaving all regulation up in the air.The other petition was the most comprehensive of the three. The four-page proposed constitutional amendment would legalize use of marijuana for adults 21 and older and regulate it similarly to alcohol. The amendment, called the Florida Cannabis Act by the political committee Sensible Florida Inc., still needs 683,149 signatures to qualify for the ballot.
If it gets enough approved signatures by the deadline of Feb. 1, the attorney general would request an advisory decision from the Florida Supreme Court to determine if the language of the ballot initiative complies with Florida law.If the proposed amendment passes those steps to get on the November 2016 ballot, it would require 60 percent of the vote to become an amendment to the Florida Constitution.In addition to three proposed constitutional amendments to legalize marijuana, United for Care has been circulating a petition for medical marijuana approval since January. It had 43,259 valid signatures as of Thursday, and the campaign has said it has hundreds of thousands of signatures yet to be validated.
The Florida Cannabis Act has a section that says its language would not have any weight on any enacted medical marijuana provisions.
In addition to allowing use by those 21 and older, it would limit possession to one ounce at a time and allow the cultivation of six plants per household member over the age of 21. Only three marijuana plants could be mature or flowering, and only those with retail licenses could sell cannabis.
The proposed amendment would not allow adults to drive under the influence of cannabis and would not require employers to permit or accommodate its use. The language also specifies it would not limit state authority to tax marijuana and counties would be able to enact ordinances on where retail marijuana facilities could operate within their jurisdictions.
Kate Irby, Herald online/political reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7055. You can follow her on Twitter@KateIrby
This gigantic victory – however – came only after the man’s life was upended, as he was arrested and no doubt spent thousands of dollars to defend himself in a jury trial. Additionally, his ability to get access to the medicine he needs was interrupted.
Legislature, if they do not act RIGHT NOW to pass a decent, constitutional medical marijuana bill, will force patients like this into the same situation – on top of wasting tax dollars that will ultimately be used to vindicate the patients.
This case also illustrates the importance of leaving it to doctors and not legislators to enumerate what qualifies as a debilitating condition. Under one version of the proposed law in legislature, this patient would not be protected.
But this doesn’t mean that sick and suffering Floridians are now protected in any way from arrest and prosecution under the law. There is no such protection – people are still being arrested and this had to be won at court. The ability to use the medicine recommended by your doctor should not have to be defended in a court of law.
To that end – we need to celebrate this victory and keep the pressure on:
Despite popular belief, new findings from a team at the University of Minnesota suggest marijuana use at an early age may not be that detrimental to cognitive function.
“Marijuana users were high functioning, demonstrating comparable IQs to controls and relatively better processing speed,” note the researchers.
The study, published March 12 in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, found that college students who used marijuana scored better on tests of processing speed and verbal fluency.
The study compared the performance of 35 non-users with 35 daily marijuana users who began using marijuana before the age of 17.
“Marijuana users were high functioning”“Marijuana use during this age span has been most strongly associated with cognitive impairment,” the team writes.
All participants were university students between 18-20 years of age, and were told to abstain from using any substances for at least 12 hours before the study.
Interestingly, the two groups showed no significant differences in tests of working memory and verbal learning. However, contrary to their better performance on other tests, marijuana users scored slightly lower on tests of motivated decision making, engagement and verbal memory.
Overall, the team concludes that the study provides “a comprehensive cognitive profile of college-aged daily marijuana users.” But they also warn that the results suggest a few “discrete” impairments associated with marijuana use.
The researchers say more studies should be conducted to pinpoint the underlying factors.
USA — The movement to end marijuana prohibition has made significant progress recently, but it could all be undone when the next president takes office in 2017. Harvard economist Jeff Miron, a vocal supporter of marijuana policy reform, highlighted the precarious nature of state marijuana laws in a Wednesday op-ed for CNN on why Congress needs to act now on federal marijuana policy.
“Despite the compelling case for legalization, and progress toward legalization at the state level, ultimate success is not assured,” Miron wrote. “Federal law still prohibits marijuana, and existing jurisprudence (Gonzales v. Raich 2005) holds that federal law trumps state law when it comes to marijuana prohibition. So far, the federal government has mostly taken a hands-off approach to state medicalizations and legalizations, but in January 2017, the country will have a new president. That person could order the attorney general to enforce federal prohibition regardless of state law.”
With marijuana legalization supported by a majority of Americans, and with states continuing to pass legalization laws — about a dozen more may do so by 2016 — it seems unlikely that the federal government would push back against the popular movement. But it’s not impossible.
That’s because the regulation of marijuana — as seen in programs currently in place in Colorado and Washington state, as well as those that will soon go into effect in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C. — remains illegal under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act. The states that have legalized marijuana have only been able to do so because of federal guidance urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations. That guidance could be reversed when a new administration enters the White House.
“Both Miron’s analysis and conclusion are spot on,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) told The Huffington Post. “The federal government needs to end the failed prohibition of marijuana by rescheduling or removing it from the list of controlled substances. Too many lives are ruined and futures cut short by these outdated and wasteful policies.”
Blumenauer is just one of a number of lawmakers from both parties who have worked toward that end. About a dozen bills were introduced in 2013, several by Blumenauer himself, aimed at limiting the federal government’s ability to interfere with states’ legal marijuana programs. Last year, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) introduced the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would direct the U.S. Attorney General to issue an order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act. If passed, Polis’ measure would effectively end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana.
And while Congress has failed to pass any of those bills, attitudes are still changing rapidly on marijuana policy. Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said he remains cautiously optimistic about marijuana legalization being here to stay, despite Congress’ tendency to move slowly on controversial social issues like this.
“It’s all political,” Nadelmann told HuffPost in an email. “Of course it’s possible that the next president could decide to crack down on the states that have legalized marijuana but that prospect becomes ever less likely with every passing day.”
“Diverse sectors of society are developing a stake in marijuana remaining legal,” he continued. “Taxpayers and tax collectors enjoy the revenue. Cost cutters appreciate the savings from no longer arresting so many people for marijuana. Unions welcome the new legal jobs. Businessmen, including many who vote Republican, relish the actual and potential profits.”
In a similar vein, Blumenauer himself has predicted that before the end of the decade, the federal government will legalize weed. Federal authorities have already allowed Colorado’s and Washington’s historic marijuana laws to take effect, and earlier this year, President Barack Obama signed the 2014 farm bill, which legalized industrial hemp production for research purposes in the states that permit it. The first hemp crops in U.S. soil in decades are already growing.
Moreover, in May, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed bipartisan measures aimed at limiting Drug Enforcement Administration crackdowns on state-legal medical marijuana shops, and at preventing the agency from interfering in states’ legal hemp programs.
Even in gridlocked Washington, the Democratic White House and the Republican-heavy Congress have been able to see eye-to-eye over how criminal justice and drug policy reform will be implemented in the next two years.
So what do some of the likely 2016 presidential candidates say about marijuana? On the Republican side, according to HuffPost’s Pollster model, the front-runners are former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Paul has been supportive of D.C.’s new recreational marijuana law, and he’s also introduced legislation aimed at protecting state-legal medical marijuana operations from federal intervention.
Huckabee, meanwhile, is opposed to both medical and recreational marijuana, and Bush came out against Florida’s recent medical marijuana bill. At the same time, Bush has made generally supportive comments about keeping the federal government out of state marijuana laws.
On the Democratic side, the current front-runners are former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.). While Clinton hasn’t offered a full-throated endorsement of marijuana legalization, she has left the door open, saying she supports medical marijuana “for people who are in extreme medical conditions.” She’s also said she wants to “wait and see” how recreational pot works out in Colorado and Washington state.
Biden has called legalization a “mistake” in the past, but he’s also said that cracking down on marijuana users is a “waste of our resources.” Warren has offered some support for medical marijuana legalization, but is opposed to recreational legalization.
“For 77 years, the United States has outlawed marijuana, with tragic repercussions and unintended consequences,” Miron wrote Wednesday. “The public and their state governments are on track to rectify this terrible policy. Here’s hoping Congress catches up.”
Read Miron’s entire editorial here: http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/19/opinion/miron-marijuana-legalization/
Source: Huffington Post (NY)
Author: Matt Ferner, The Huffington Post
Published: November 19, 2014
Copyright: 2014 HuffingtonPost.com, LLC
Florida is one step away from legalizing medical marijuana. In November voters will decide if they should allow widespread sale and use of cannibis by saying “yay” or “nay” on The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, commonly known as Amendment 2.
Medical cannabis is already legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia and is hailed by some as a wonder drug, a cure to a wide range of ailments.
Among the proponents are the parents of 3-year-old Dahlia Barnhart, who was diagnosed last May with a very aggressive and rare form of brain cancer.
Her mother, Moriah Barnhart, said the chemotherapy wasn’t working well and Dahlia was on her death bed until she started medical marijuana treatment.
“This type of disease has such a low success rate with conventional treatments, I really felt I had no option but to utilize it, to see if it helped and to go from there. So I picked up and moved to Colorado,” said Barnhart.
Dahlia takes cannabis oil by mouth. It has low levels of THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) to keep her from getting high off the drug. Mom says the tumor is shrinking.
Barnhart, who is now part of the advocacy group “Cannamoms,” knows there are critics but stands behind her decision to give her daughter cannabis.
“We have been brainwashed and I know speaking for myself I was one of those people before I was in the situation,” Barnhart said. “There is really nothing that can mean more than what I see with my own eyes. And her quality-of-life and the fact that she went from being on her deathbed to being a happy and playful, energetic toddler.”
Marijuana is hailed by many as a miracle medicine for the worst cancers and other debilitating diseases.
Cathy Jordan has smoked marijuana since 1989.
Jordan, whose voice is week and body is confined to an electric wheelchair, isn’t the person many would expect to be a marijuana user. But she says it’s the reason she’s alive today.
Jordan was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease in 1986. Doctors said she had less than 5 years to live. But she found pot halted the debilitating disease’s progress.
“No doctor ever told me to stop. No one ever told me to stop,” said Jordan.
She’s lived with the illness for 28 years now, something that’s practically unheard of. It’s earned her the nickname “The Myth.”
Jordan told News4Jax that she believes it’s all thanks to cannabis, which is why she is now one of the biggest supporters of Amendment 2.
Steve DeAngelo, founder and Executive Director of Harborside Health Center in Oakland, California, said he has learned more about how and why marijuana had been illegal and developed a passion to tell the world about it.
“The truth about cannabis is, it is possibly the most valuable plant that there is on this planet,” DeAngelo said. “The medicine is incredibly efficacious and safe for a very wide range of medical conditions.”
Orange County Fla. looking into location of marijuana businesses
Orange County commissioners on Tuesday took a first step toward limiting where marijuana businesses can set up shop, in the event that voters approve a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana next month.
Amendment 2, formally known as “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions,” would decriminalize marijuana use for patients suffering from diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and glaucoma. The state Department of Health would oversee businesses where marijuana is grown and sold, and would issue identification cards to patients and caregivers.
To date, 23 states have adopted similar medical-marijuana measures.
Polls at first showed an overwhelming majority of voters support Amendment 2, but the level of support has dropped in recent months. The amendment requires 60 percent of the vote to pass.
Backers say legalization is a compassionate step for patients who can’t get relief for chronic pain through traditional medications, while critics argue loopholes in the amendment would allow unscrupulous sales and use unrelated to medical conditions.
Under the ordinance discussed Tuesday, “medical marijuana treatment centers” — defined as any entity that grows, possesses, sells, dispenses or administers the drug — would be barred in tourist areas, and would be kept at least 1,500 feet from schools, parks, churches, homes, day-care centers and other marijuana dispensaries.
Taken together, those limits would consign treatment centers to a relatively tiny area — just under 5,000 acres spread throughout the county.
Larry Zweig, director of the Metropolitan Bureau of Investigation, told commissioners that while law enforcement is hopeful that Amendment 2 fails, the ordinance is a positive step should it pass.
He noted that California voters passed a similarly worded ordinance, and cities such as Los Angeles saw so-called “pot doctor shops” sprout up in tourist areas in the absence of zoning that prohibited them.
“Get ahead of this,” Zweig said. Otherwise, “we can expect to have a lot of the same issues.”
Several International Drive hoteliers and other business owners spoke about the need to keep the centers away from the tourist areas.
Hotelier Harris Rosen went a step further, warning of dire consequences for family tourism if Amendment 2 passes. “I’ve been on International Drive for 40 years …,” he said. “In all the time I’ve been here I’ve never been as concerned about an issue as I am about this.”
Tuesday’s hearing was the first of two required for the ordinance to become law. Should Amendment 2 win approval on Election Day Nov. 4, commissioners will again take up the ordinance Nov. 11. At that time they could also decide to establish a moratorium on the treatment centers while figuring out a long term approach.
If approved, Amendment 2 would take effect Jan. 6, 2015.
Municipalities around Central Florida have been looking into how to handle marijuana businesses in recent months, should the amendment pass. In June, the Orange County city of Edgewood passed an ordinance limiting treatment centers to certain industrially zoned areas of the city.
Eustis commissioners recently approved a nine-month moratorium on the centers setting up shop in the city. And Monday, Winter Park commissioners gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would limit treatment centers to a single street in an industrially zoned area of the city.
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The Florida Medical Association came out against Amendment 2 (Florida’s upcoming medical marijuana ballot measure – November 2nd). Florida Medical Association Backward on Marijuana
Following the standard talking points of the opposition, physician Alan Pillersdorf, association president, said in a statement. “We believe the unintended consequences of Amendment 2 are serious and numerous enough for us to believe they constitute a public health risk for Floridians.”
Unintended consequences? Besides being a BS phrase meant to scare people, this phrase really has no bearing on anything. We have seen successful rollouts of medical marijuana in dozens of states. Washington state and Colorado have legalized recreational marijuana. What have the unintended consequences been?
The unintended consequences of medical, or even recreational marijuana legalization are all positive.
I am sure someone down there is thinking “what about the children?”. So I have to tell you this: I grew up in Florida. I graduated High School in Florida. Marijuana is far easier for a teenager in Florida to get then alcohol is. Maybe if we started requiring the people selling it to ID people it would be better for the children… but that would require legalization and regulation…
But seriously Florida folk. There is a lot of marijuana in your state. It is currently being grown, harvested, prepped, transported, bought and sold in an underground economy that does not help the state one bit, nor does it required that sellers check ID’s and only sell to adults. Any effort to take any part of the marijuana market away from the underground market and it put it into the legitimate, regulated, taxed market is a positive move.
In the statement criticizing Amendment 2 and medical marijuana, The Florida Medical Association urged its membership not to prescribe medical marijuana if the amendment passes until products are approved by the FDA. (Despite the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and therefore the FDA will likely not be approving anything until that changes). This move comes as no surprise from the type of people who accept kickbacks from big pharma. Of course they don’t want something that can be grown in your backyard to replace the expensive pharmaceuticals. Not after Florida Doctors received over $200 million in payments from Pharmaceutical companies (2nd only in the US to payments made to California Doctors)
Pro-pot group suggests rules for medical marijuana in Florida
As Election Day draws near, opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment permitting the use of medical marijuana in Florida have been on the attack, alleging that approval would lead to dangerous consequences.
Wednesday, backers of the amendment tried to allay such concerns by issuing a list of recommended regulations for the state Department of Health to put in place.
If the measure passes, the state will have until next summer to draft regulations and put the system into place. In other states, the details of growing, distributing and using medical marijuana can fill hundreds of pages of regulations.
One broad suggestion of how the system should work was released Wednesday by the “Florida for Care Blue Ribbon Commission,” a group set up by the amendment’s sponsor, United for Care.
Among the “principles” the group is recommending:
• Dispensaries should be at least 1,000 feet from schools, day care centers and drug rehab facilities.
• “Personal caregivers,” who pick up the pot at the dispensary and deliver it to the patients, cannot be felons unless they are immediate family members or had their rights restored. A recent TV ad by opponents warns that caregivers can be drug dealers.
• Physicians should have previously treated a patient before issuing a certificate that qualifies the patient to use medical marijuana. And every certificate should be followed by an annual exam.
• Physicians should never issue a marijuana card to a minor without parental consent.
Chairing the commission is attorney Jon Mills, a former speaker of the Florida House, who drafted the proposed amendment for United for Care and defended it before the Florida Supreme Court.
The vice chairman is former state Senate Majority Leader Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a Republican who opposes Amendment 2, but worked on suggesting regulations to make sure the system works well, the release said.
“When Amendment 2 passes, it will be helpful for the Legislature to get a head start with implementing legislation,” said Mills in a press release. “We brought people with different points of view and identified major principles, visions and policies to be implemented.”
Opponents have warned that the amendment could have serious unintended consequences because the ballot language will be written into the state constitution, and that would take precedence over any regulatory law or legislation that conflicts with the ballot language.
Stephen Nohlgren can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org