Florida votes overwhelmingly for medical marijuana
Patients suffering from debilitating illnesses will soon have access to medical marijuana in Florida after voters approved Amendment 2 Tuesday.
By 8:30 p.m. it was clear that Amendment 2 would pass with well above the required 60 percent threshold. The amendment inserts language into the Florida Constitution allowing those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and a host of other conditions to use marijuana if it is recommended by their doctor.
“Getting over 60 percent at this point means so much both symbolically and legally because we’re able to relinquish the name of criminals that has been forced on us,” said Moriah Barnhart of Brandon, whose daughter Dahlia uses cannabis as treatment for brain cancer after being diagnosed at age 2.
Just two years ago, a similar provision fell short. That makes this victory particularly sweet for John Morgan, the Orlando trial lawyer who bankrolled the marijuana campaign’s effort to secure a spot on the ballot this year.
Florida becomes the 26th state to legalize marijuana for either medical or recreational use. Arkansas and North Dakota voters are considering similar ballot issues this year as well.
In an email to supporters, Morgan declared victory.
"Hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering Floridians will now benefit from this law, and soon," he wrote. "This was never about winning an election, although that's exactly what we did tonight. The election was a means to an end. The end was always, always always delivering compassion to those who could benefit, those desperate for the relief medical marijuana can bring."
The No on 2 campaign conceded and urged the state Legislature to set restrictions on the industry.
"The authors of Amendment 2 have long maintained that the legislature has wide discretion to regulate the implementation of Amendment 2 for the health, safety and welfare of all Floridians," campaign spokeswoman Christina Johnson said. "Therefore, we implore the legislature to take the authors of Amendment 2 at their word by passing implementing legislation that bans pot candy, puts a limit on THC levels, tightly defines 'other debilitating medical conditions,' and gives local communities the right to limit, restrict, and outright ban pot shops."