Proposed Amendment To Legalize Medical Marijuana In Florida Faces Court Hearing

The fight over a proposed amendment to the state’s Constitution that would legalize medical marijuana is making its way this week to the Florida Supreme Court.
State GOP leaders, such as Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have been railing against a citizen-led initiative to get a medical marijuana amendment on next year’s ballot.
Most recently, the initiative has garnered financial support for John Morgan, a wealthy trial lawyer in Florida.
Since then, the amendment campaign has gotten closer to the amount of signatures it needs to get the measure on the 2014 ballot. Now, opponents of the amendment are looking to stop it in court. According to Lloyd Dunkelberger of the Herald-Tribune:
On Dec. 5, the justices will hear arguments over the language of the proposal that will be on the November 2014 ballot if sponsors secure nearly 700,000 validated voter signatures by early next year.
Opponents, including Attorney General Pam Bondi, legislative leaders, doctors and anti-drug groups, will argue that the ballot language is misleading and would lead to the widespread use of marijuana far beyond the treatment of Floridians for debilitating diseases like cancer or ALS.
… The Supreme Court decision will pivot on two issues: whether the ballot language is accurate and whether the proposal encompasses a “single subject.”
Opponents say the measure misses the mark on both counts.
In a brief filed this month, Bondi, the state’s top legal officer, argued that the amendment is so broadly written that while it will allow patients with cancer and other serious diseases to use medical marijuana, it would also make it available to other Floridians with less debilitating ailments, ranging from insomnia to anxiety to “everyday aches and pains.”
“If voters want to make Florida one of the most permissive medical marijuana states in the country they can use their constitutional initiative power to do so. That is their right,” the brief said.
But Bondi argued the amendment must be rejected by the court because ballot language does not reveal the initiative’s “true purpose.”
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