The fight to legalize medical marijuana seems to be spreading across the country. In Florida, a medical marijuana group said it cleared the first major hurdle to get a proposed constitutional amendment for medical marijuana on the 2014 ballot. In Illinois, the governor recently signed a law allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes. Similarly, New Jersey’s governor also recently relaxed the state’s medical marijuana law for sick children.
Currently, twenty states plus the District of Columbia have effective laws that decriminalize medical marijuana.
Supreme Court to Review Florida’s Medical Marijuana Proposal.
According to the Miami Herald, People United for Medical Marijuana, a medical marijuana group, has collected at least 110,000 voter signatures in support of allowing the use of medical marijuana throughout the state. These signatures initiate the first step in getting the initiative on the 2014 November ballot, a Supreme Court review of the proposal language. The Supreme Court will review the proposal and will rule on its constitutionality.
To continue the group will need 583,149 more verified voter signatures by February 1, 2014, to get on the 2014 ballot, according to the Miami Herald. It will then need 60 percent (60%) approval from voters in order to be made a state constitutional amendment.
The People United for Medical Marijuana’s proposal only allows tightly controlled, medically prescribed marijuana. Florida attorney John Morgan of Morgan & Morgan recently jumped behind an effort to legalized medical marijuana in Florida. Morgan’s reputation throughout the community and his personal story on why he is lobbying for medical marijuana has people listening. To read a previous blog on Mr. Morgan’s support of medical marijuana, click here. If approved, Florida would be the 21st state to decriminalize marijuana.
Illinois Allows Medical Marijuana.
On August 1, 2013, the governor of Illinois signed a law allowing marijuana to be used for medical purposes, according to Reuters. The law takes effect January 1, 2014, and allows patients diagnosed with one of 35 medical conditions to use marijuana. To receive the drug, a patient must have a recommendation from an Illinois licensed physician, must present a registered patient photo identification card, and the patient must be verified through an electronic system. According to Reuters, under the Illinois law patients will be limited to 2.5 ounces of marijuana every two weeks.
To learn more on the restrictions of this law, click here to read the Reuters article.
New Jersey Governor Allows Medical Marijuana for Sick Children.
Just weeks later, on August 17, 2013, New Jersey’s governor relaxed the state’s medical marijuana law, making it easier for chronically ill children to use the drug as part of their treatment. According to CBS News, the governor approved expanding the state’s medical marijuana program to allow the edible form of marijuana for children 18 years old and younger. To get medical marijuana, the young patients will be required to have approval from a pediatrician and a psychiatrist.
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Do you think marijuana should be legalized? Do you think Florida will legalize medical marijuana? Please leave any thoughtful comments below.
Caputo, Marc. “Medical Marijuana Slows Petition Drive Until High Court Rules.” Miami Herald. (August 15, 2013). From: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/15/3565544/medical-marijuana-slows-petition.html
Wisniewski, Mary. “Illinois Governor Signs Law Allowing Medical Marijuana.” Reuters. (August 1, 2013). From: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/08/01/us-usa-marijuana-illinois-idUSBRE97018920130801
Brown, Terry, Burkholder, Amy, and Hirschkorn, Phil. “Christie Oks Medical Marijuana Bill for Ill Children.” CBS News. (August 17, 2013). From: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-18563_162-57599009/christie-oks-medical-marijuana-bill-for-ill-children/
About the Author: George F. Indest III, J.D., M.P.A., LL.M., is Board Certified by The Florida Bar in Health Law. He is the President and Managing Partner of The Health Law Firm, which has a national practice. Its main office is in the Orlando, Florida, area. www.TheHealthLawFirm.com The Health Law Firm, 1101 Douglas Ave., Altamonte Springs, FL 32714, Phone: (407) 331-6620.
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