Medical Marijuana Implementation Bill Signed Into Law by Florida Governor

As promised, Florida Governor Rick Scott has signed into law a bill to implement the legalization of medical marijuana.

The governor’s signature comes after the House amended and passed the bill with a 103 to 9 vote, which was followed by a 29 to 6 vote in the Senate. The new law implements a medical cannabis legalization initiative approved by voters last year (Amendment 2). Controversially, the legislation removes patients’ ability to actually smoke medical marijuana, leaving them to rely on other methods of consumption such as edibles and tinctures.

“Don’t get me wrong: this legislation is FAR from perfect. But it is a major step forward for patient access, and is drastically different and more patient-friendly than either chamber’s original implementing bills”, says Ben Pollara of Florida for Care. Pollara was previously the Campaign Manager for United for Care, the group that successfully placed Amendment 2 on last year’s ballot.

Read moreMedical Marijuana Implementation Bill Signed Into Law by Florida Governor

Florida Lawmakers Approve Bill to Butcher Medical Cannabis Law Approved by Voters

A Florida House committee has overwhelmingly passed a measure that would drastically alter a medical cannabis law approved by voters last year.

The House Health Quality Subcommittee passed House Bill 1397 yesterday with a 14 to 1 vote. The measure, sponsored by House Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, would prohibit the smoking of medical cannabis and cannabis products and would ban edibles entirely. In addition, it would prohibit patients from vaping unless they are terminally ill. This would leave patients to rely on other methods of consumption such as topicals and pills.

This would be a drastic change to Amendment 2, the initiative that legalized medical cannabis in the state; it was approved by voters in November with 71% in favor. The constitutional amendment allows those with a recommendation from a physician to possess and use medical cannabis, and to purchase it from a licensed dispensary.

Read moreFlorida Lawmakers Approve Bill to Butcher Medical Cannabis Law Approved by Voters

Donor Announces 5-to-1 Match for All Donations to Florida’s Medical Cannabis Initiative

floridamedcanBarbara Stiefel, a medical cannabis supporter in Florida, has given a massive boost of adrenaline to the campaign behind Amendment 2 to legalize medical cannabis, which is up for a vote next month. Stiefel has agreed to match all donations between now and election day 5-to-1. This means that if another donor makes a $1,000 contribution, Stiefel will immediately put in $5,000 of her own money. If a separate donor makes a contribution of $10,000, she’ll put in $50,000, and so on.

“As you may have read.. Sheldon Adelson dropped another $500,000 against us”, says Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for United for Care, the group behind Amendment 2. “However—thanks to the generosity of a major supporter of Amendment 2, Barbara Stiefel, we now have a way to close the gap quickly.

Read moreDonor Announces 5-to-1 Match for All Donations to Florida’s Medical Cannabis Initiative

Poll: 77% of Florida Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

floridaNew polling conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research has found that a vast majority of voters in Florida support Amendment 2, an initiative to legalize medical cannabis which will be voted on this November 8th.

According to the poll, 77% of Florida voters sat that they support Amendment 2 with just 20% opposed. Only 3% of voters remain undecided.

“Voter support for medical marijuana in Florida is stronger than ever”, says Kevin Akins, one of the poll’s authors. “A broad and diverse coalition of voters across age, racial, and gender lines support Amendment 2 by a winning margin.”

Read morePoll: 77% of Florida Voters Support Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Florida: Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis Officially Qualifies for November Ballot

floridamedcanThe Florida Division of Elections has confirmed that United for Care’s initiative to legalize medical cannabis has exceeded the 683,149 signatures required to be placed on the 2016 presidential election ballot. The initiative is nearly identical to a 2014 medical cannabis initiative which received 58% of the vote in the general election but failed to become law due to a 60% requirement in Florida for constitutional amendments. As with the 2014 measure, this new measure will be Amendment 2.

“Compassion is coming,” said United for Care chairman, John B. Morgan, who largely funded the signature collection campaign for the initiative. “This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief. What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election.”

Read moreFlorida: Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis Officially Qualifies for November Ballot

Florida Supreme Court Cancels Arguments Against Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

floridamedcanThe Florida Supreme Court has cancelled oral arguments against United for Care’s initiative to legalize the medical use of cannabis, in the wake of Attorney General Bondi’s lack of objection, according to Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for the group.

“Should they formally approve the amendment language – that would mean the only thing standing in the way of medical marijuana’s return to the ballot is collecting enough validated signatures”, says Pollara. “We are literally halfway to our petition goal [of 1 million]”.

Read moreFlorida Supreme Court Cancels Arguments Against Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

TheJointBlog.com’s Weekly Podcast – September 20th, 2015

Welcome to TheJointBlog.com’s weekly podcast, airing every Sunday at 4PM PST!

Today’s episode features a breakdown of the top cannabis stories from the past week, a look at cannabis law reform in the presidential election, and an interview with Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for the organization United for Care, which is working to place a medical cannabis legalization initiative on next year’s ballot in Florida!

September 20th, 2015:

thejointblogfinal

Over Half a Million Signatures Collected on Florida Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

floridamedcanOver 500,000 signatures have been collected on United for Care’s initiative to legalize medical cannabis in Florida, Campaign Manager Ben Pollara tells us.

United for Care is required to collect 683,149 signatures by February 1st to place their initiative on the November, 2016 ballot, a number they’re well on track to make.

If placed on the ballot and passed into law, the measure would legalize the possession and state-licensed distribution of cannabis for medical purposes.

Read moreOver Half a Million Signatures Collected on Florida Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

Campaign to Legalize Medical Cannabis in Florida Reaches Signature Goal, Triggers Supreme Court Review

floridaFlorida’s United for Care, a group working to place an initiative to legalize medical cannabis on next year’s general election ballot, has had 73, 713 signatures verified by the state’s Division of Elections. This is 5,000 over the required amount to trigger a Supreme Court review.

“We are thrilled at this timely accomplishment”, says United for Care Campaign Manager Ben Pollara. “This is the first major milestone to bringing medical marijuana before the Florida voters in November 2016. In the next election, voters will succeed where their elected have failed them, and pass a comprehensive, compassionate medical marijuana law to serve the hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people who are desperate for relief in our state.”

Read moreCampaign to Legalize Medical Cannabis in Florida Reaches Signature Goal, Triggers Supreme Court Review

100,000 Signatures Submitted in Florida for Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis

floridaThe nonprofit organization United for Care sent 100,000 signatures today to the Supervisor of Elections offices, well past what is needed to put their medical cannabis legalization initiative to a Supreme Court review.

According to Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager for United for Care; “The Supervisor of Elections has thirty days to verify that a petition is valid. Following verification, the Supreme Court will then schedule a review.”

Read more100,000 Signatures Submitted in Florida for Initiative to Legalize Medical Cannabis