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Florida Voters Reject Medical Marijuana


 No medical marijuana in Florida.

Although more than 57% of Floridians voted to legalize medical marijuana, Florida Amendment 2 failed on November 4 because constitutional amendments in Florida require approval by 60% of voters.

Supporters of legalizing medical marijuana in Florida will likely not give up. John Morgan, the Orlando attorney who spent $4 million to get the amendment on the ballot, has said that he would try again in 2016 “if the measure polls in the high 50s.” And Tom Angell, Marijuana Majority chairman, said that he and others “will keep pushing until the law reflects what most voters want.”

Opposition to legalization will likely continue, as well. Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul, reportedly spent $5 million to defeat the amendment. (Ironically, his medical research organization--the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Medical Research Foundation--has produced a study “showing that medical marijuana has the potential to help people with multiple sclerosis.”) And organizations like St. Petersburg's Drug Free America will be around in 2016, too.

Florida state officials have recognized the potential benefit of medical marijuana. Last June, Governor Rick Scott (R) authorized a “narrow medical cannabis program” when he signed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. The bill, known as Charlotte’s Web bill after an epileptic girl in Colorado, allows the “limited use of marijuana strains … to treat severe epilepsy and cancer” (Huffington Post). Governor Scott said in his press release, “As a father and grandfather, you never want to see kids suffer. The approval of Charlotte’s Web will ensure that children in Florida who suffer from seizures and other debilitating illness will have the medication needed to improve their quality of life.” Eventually, perhaps, that attitude could extend to adults.

The use of medical marijuana is legal in almost half of the United States. With the recent election, recreational pot will soon be legal in four states--and perhaps the nation’s capital as well.

photo credit: uvw916a via photopin cc


Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.