Medical marijuana resolutions for Florida voters to decide on an amendment to the state’s constitution, that would legalize marijuana, have now been proposed in both chambers of the state Legislature. But there is one big set back. Both the Senate and the House have to pass the resolutions by three-fifths margins for the amendment to make it to the ballot.
Sen. Larcenia Bullard (D-Miami) dropped Senate Joint Resolution 1028 in the hopper last Friday, and Rep. Jeff Clemens (D-Lake Worth) had already introduced House Joint Resolution 353, reports Matthew Hendley at the Broward Palm Beach New Times. The resolutions would put a medical marijuana amendment up for a statewide vote next year.
Another legalization initiative currently active in the state is People United For Medical Marijuana (PUFMM), which has a citizen petition currently gathering signatures. But that effort needs more than 600,000 signatures, which will be tough for qualifying in time of the November 2012 ballot. PUFMM had 29,922 signatures as of October 29; they need 676,811 by February 1 to qualify for the 2012 ballot. IF the amendment passed both chambers of the Legislature by three-fifths majorities, and if the issue were passed by the voters next November, the amendment would take effect on July 1, 2013. Medical marijuana patients would have to be diagnosed with a “debilitating medical condition” by two doctors, and would only be allowed to have as much cannabis as is “legislatively presumed to be medically necessary,” according to the language of the amendment. Patients wouldn’t be allowed to affect the health or well-being of others with their marijuana use, and they’d be banned from toking up in public places. Workplaces wouldn’t be required to “accommodate” their employees’ medical marijuana use, and patients would have to be at least 18 to participate, unless they get parental consent. On the good side, patients who are parents wouldn’t have their children taken away for using medical marijuana unless their “behavior creates an unreasonable danger” to the kids.
If state or local law enforcement confiscates a patient’s medical cannabis in the event of an arrest, the cannabis would have to be kept safe and never destroyed, and must be returned to the patient “immediately” if he or she isn’t prosecuted, the charges are dismissed, or the patient is acquitted of the charges. SJR 1028, the Senate version of the resolution hasn’t yet received any committee assignments. As medical marijuana in Florida still looks like a far hope, this is another stepping stone and that is a positive vibe for Florida’s pro-medical marijuana activists.