Florida Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments On Validity of Medical Marijuana Amendment
By Dr. James Palermo // October 24, 2015
arguments will take place Dec. 8
Backers of medical marijuana will need to collect more than 683,000 signatures by next February in order to get a Florida constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the ballot again in 2016.
Proponents of the amendment are gaining momentum, and state records show that People United for Medical Marijuana (United For Care), a group backed by Orlando attorney John Morgan, has been gathering petitions and has already turned in over 286,000 valid signatures.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who is opposed to the amendment based in part on her opinion that its language was “misleading” and would put Florida in conflict with federal law, requested in a letter to the Florida Supreme Court earlier this month that the Court review the constitutional validity of the amendment.
According to an order posted earlier this week, the Florida Supreme Court will be taking up oral argument related to the use of marijuana for debilitating medical conditions and its legalization through the constitutional amendment process.
The court-ordered arguments will take place at 9 a.m. December 8, with each side slated for 20 minutes of oral arguments.
The amendment as written would allow for the medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or caregiver, and also prohibit physicians from being subject to criminal or civil liabilities under Florida law for issuing a prescription for medical marijuana.
The amendment language describes the “debilitating” medical conditions for which medical cannibus could be prescribed as cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, and for other conditions which a physician feels using medical marijuana would outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
A similar amendment was proposed and put on the ballot in 2014, but it did not garner the 60 percent voter approval needed for constitutional amendment ratification.
If Florida legalizes medical marijuana, it would join 23 other states including the District of Columbia to allow medical pot.