Medical marijuana legalization is a step away from being on the ballot in Florida in 2014, which would leave the issue up to voters to decide. Polls show strong support for legal cannabis in the state, but a crucial obstacle remains.
On Friday, the website of the Florida Division of Elections showed that a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical weed in Florida had 710,508 verified signatures — over 27,000 more than the 683,149 required to get the issue on this year’s ballot. Constitutional amendments in Florida must win at least 60 percent of the vote before they can become law, but that shouldn’t be much of a problem: A poll taken in November showed 82 percent support for legalizing medical marijuana, The Miami Herald reported at the time.
Still, Florida’s ballot initiative must first be approved by the state Supreme Court — before it can be voted on by the public.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi says the amendment’s wording is vague and could be exploited by people who don’t have medical conditions, according to local cable news channel Bay News 9. If the Supreme Court agrees with Bondi, the Tampa Bay Times points out, the initiative would be invalidated.
Supporters of medical marijuana say the drug can be used to treat a variety of ailments, including seizure disorders, PTSD, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and even cancer. Opponents say there are legal drugs that already treat those conditions, and that marijuana has a high potential for abuse.
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have working medical marijuana programs, and a handful of other states are currently toying with legalizing cannabis for various purposes.