Medical Marijuana Reform All But Certain in Florida
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 08/07/2014 in Medical Marijuana Laws
Location: Florida | Source: MainStreet
If looking at the latest Quinnipiac Polls is any indication of how the state of Florida views medical marijuana than it appears that medical marijuana is a forgone certainty in the Sunshine State this coming November. The numbers showing support for Florida’s Amendment 2 are so strong that the assistant director of the poll, Peter Brown, said in a written statement that the results indicate “a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass.”
Despite the favorable numbers shown in polls so far Florida’s executive director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), Karen Goldstein, was quick to state that understanding poll results is not always so simple. “Actual support for the medical marijuana in general is 88%, but only 70% for Amendment 2” she said, citing the latest Quinnipiac Poll which was published in the Miami Herald. “This will nonetheless be a watershed year. There is defiantly a domino effect going on, and Florida is one of the biggest dominoes ready to topple. Once Florida becomes medically legal the end of prohibition will be near.” Goldstein states.
The campaign manager for the group behind the campaign to pass Amendment 2, United For Care, shares Goldstein’s sentiments. “The polls are heartening but nothing will be gratifying until all the votes are counted and we get to 60% plus one,” said Ben Pollara. “We need to win by a landslide, and there are still many political lifetimes between now and Election Day.” Despite different interpretations of polling results one thing is undeniable, support for Amendment 2 crosses all demographics within the state.
Parts of the group of supporters who are betting on marijuana reform in the state this November are the hundred if not thousands of new entrepreneurs who have flocked to the state in the hopes of cashing in. Many businesses already have begun operations following Governor Rick Scott’s signing of the state’s CBD only law just a few weeks ago. State regulators have already written up the second draft of rules which will govern CBD only businesses. The rules, not yet finalized, have drawn much criticism from entrepreneurs and activists who are finding themselves increasingly shut out.
State regulators have contemplated doubling the license fee for “CBD only” distribution from $150,000 to $300,000. Competition for the limited amount of licenses is fierce and already rife with controversy. The framework for the law that has drawn the most amounts of complaints is the proposed requirement that growers and distributors must have over 30 years experience growing, a stipulation many say automatically excludes growers with significant and practical marijuana experience. Mr. Pollara was quick to point out that the rulemaking process itself reiterates the need to pass Amendment 2 and place the power and responsibility in the hands of qualified state agencies rather than Florida politicians.
One fear for many advocates is that the CBD only law will confuse potential voters. Goldstein has said that the CBD bill may confuse some state residents with thinking Florida has medical marijuana and as such don’t have to vote for Amendment 2, “This could not be further from the truth” he says.
The anticipated victory of Amendment 2’s campaign is expected to be the catalyst for marijuana issues nationally not just in the state. “A victory on election day will mean that medical marijuana has a clear mandate from the voters and that will hopefully make clear to regulators and politicians that this system must be implemented swiftly and in the best interest of the potentially hundreds of thousands of patients in Florida,” Pollara explained.