Voters in Florida overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment to approve the use of medical marijuana.
Amendment 2 was approved on Tuesday which will insert language into the Florida Constitution allowing those with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy and a range of other debilitating conditions to use marijuana if it is recommended by their doctor.
Voters in California, Massachusetts and Nevada also approved recreational marijuana initiatives on Tuesday night, and several other states passed medical marijuana provisions, in what has turned out to be the biggest electoral victory for marijuana reform since 2012
A number of Southern states, including Florida, have in recent years passed limited, CBD-only medical marijuana laws, but passage of Amendment 2 means the South has its first full-blown medical marijuana law.
With returns 90% complete at 8 p.m. on election night, Amendment 2 was winning with 71% of the vote. Under Florida law, constitutional amendments not need a simple majority but 60% of the vote.
The second time was the charm for attorney John Morgan and United for Care, which led the charge for Amendment 2. Their first effort in 2014 came up just short, winning 57.6% of the vote, a solid majority, but enough votes to overcome the 60% hurdle. The 2014 effort also had to fight headwinds generated by a “no” campaign financed to the tune of $5 million, primarily thanks to prohibitionist zealot and Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
Amendment 2 overcame that electoral hurdle and another multi-million dollar “no” campaign, again with significant contributions from Adelson, as well as Florida arch-prohibitionist Mel Sembler. It also benefited from strong presidential election year turnout and two more years of attitudinal shifts toward tolerance of marijuana in general and medical marijuana in particular.
Under the measure, patients with “debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed Florida physician” will be able to buy weed legally through state-regulated dispensaries. But they won’t be able to grow their own.
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