Florida residents to vote on medical marijuana amendment

TALLAHASSEE, FLA. (WSVN) - As Election Day gets closer, those of us who haven’t made a final decision on how we will vote on key issues are likely to start taking a closer look. Therefore, 7News will be giving you the facts on what you should know about Amendment 2.

Amendment 2 is the medical marijuana initiative, and it’s making its second appearance in a Florida election.

In 2014, the amendment only got 58 percent voter approval, instead of the 60 percent it needed to pass.

So, United for Care, the group backing the effort, re-wrote some key language for the 2016 ballot.

“I think we made it better in a lot of ways,” said Ben Pollara of United for Care.

The first thing they changed is the name. “Our opposition and the supreme court said it was too broad and perhaps confusing,” said Pollara. “Now it is clear: ‘use of marijuana for debilitating medical conditions.'”

This includes a list of specific diseases or conditions.

Other changes include giving the Department of Health (DOH) more regulatory oversight and the authority to decide how many patients a caregiver can serve.

“We also added an additional check on parental consent for minors,” added Pollara.

But even with the changes, the opposition isn’t budging.

Dr. Jessica Spencer of Drug-Free Florida opposes the amendment, however. “We’re very concerned about the language and how this will open this up for everyone as, again, defacto legalization of marijuana,” said Spencer.

She’s with “Vote No on 2” and said there is nothing medical about medical marijuana. “This is not the marijuana of yesterday, that many of the baby boomers of my generation think, ‘Oh, who cares, it’s just pot.'”

Opponents say medical marijuana is 10 to 15 times stronger than regular pot.

They are also concerned about where medical dispensaries will pop up, and the fact that the medical marijuana will not come from a regulated pharmacy.

“We need to protect our communities. We need to protect our children. We need to protect our state,” explained Spencer. “This is not what we think it is.”

Right now, 25 states and Washington D.C. have approved medical marijuana laws.

You will decide if Florida becomes number 26.

“I feel really good that we will win again this time,” said Spencer. “We will push this stuff right back out of our state. It doesn’t belong here.”

“There is every age, race, demographic who’s supportive of medical marijuana right now,” noted Pollara, “and I believe that’s how it will shake out on election day.”

If you would like to read the full amendment, click here.

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