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Florida Medical Marijuana Plants Initiative (2022)

Florida Medical Marijuana Plants Initiative
Election date
November 8, 2022
Topic
Marijuana
Status
Gathering signatures
Type
Constitutional amendment
Origin
Citizens

The Florida Medical Marijuana Plants Initiative (Initiative #18-05) may appear on the ballot in Florida as an initiated constitutional amendment on November 8, 2022. [1]

Contents

  • 1 Measure design
  • 2 Text of measure
    • 2.1 Ballot title
    • 2.2 Ballot summary
    • 2.3 Constitutional changes
  • 3 Sponsors
  • 4 Background
    • 4.1 Medical marijuana in the United States
      • 4.1.1 Unique instances
  • 5 Path to the ballot
    • 5.1 The state process
    • 5.2 Details about the initiative
  • 6 See also
  • 7 External links
  • 8 Footnotes

Measure design

The measure would amend Amendment 2 (2016), which legalized medical marijuana in Florida, to redefine “medical use” under the measure to include growing up to nine marijuana plants. The measure would also add a definition for “marijuana plant.” [1]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The proposed title is as follows: [2]

Marijuana Plants for Medical Marijuana Patients [3]

Ballot summary

The proposed ballot summary is as follows: [2]

Allows qualifying medical marijuana patients or their caregivers to grow marijuana plants for medical use. Redefines medical use of marijuana to include growing up to nine mature flowering marijuana plants, and possessing the harvest therefrom. Includes the definition of a marijuana plant. Applies only to Florida law, and does not immunize violations of federal law. [3]

Constitutional changes

The measure would amend Section 29(b) of Article X of the Florida Constitution. The following underlined text would be added: [2]

ARTICLE X, SECTION 29.– Medical marijuana production, possession and use.

(b) DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:

(6) “Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, use, growing up to nine mature flowering marijuana plants and possessing the harvest therefrom, delivery, transfer, or administration of an amount of marijuana not in conflict with Department rules, or of related supplies by a qualifying patient or caregiver for use by the caregiver’s designated qualifying patient for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition.

(11) “Marijuana plant” means a plant, including, but not limited to, a seedling or cutting. To determine if a piece or part of a marijuana plant severed from the marijuana plant is itself a marijuana plant, the severed piece or part must have some readily observable evidence of root formation, such as root hairs. Callous tissue is not readily observable evidence of root formation. [3]

Sponsors

Peaceful Minds for Medical Marijuana is leading the campaign in support of the initiative. [2]

Background

Medical marijuana in the United States

As of November 2020, 35 states and Washington, D.C., had passed laws legalizing or decriminalizing medical marijuana. Additionally, 15 states had legalized the use of cannabis oil, or cannabidiol (CBD)—one of the non-psychoactive ingredients found in marijuana—for medical purposes. [4] In one state—Idaho—medical marijuana was illegal, but the use of a specific brand of FDA-approved CDB, Epidiolex, was legal. On the map below, states shaded in dark red had passed laws permitting the use of medical marijuana. The states in pink allowed for the use of CBD in some circumstances but did not allow medical marijuana. The states in yellow did not allow medical marijuana and allowed only a specific brand of cannabis oil. The state shaded in gray—Nebraska—did not allow medical marijuana or the use of any type of cannabis oil. [5] Based on 2019 population estimates, 67.5 percent of Americans lived in a jurisdiction with access to medical marijuana.

Unique instances

Idaho: In 2015, the Idaho State Legislature passed a bill legalizing certain types of CBD oil that was later vetoed by Governor Butch Otter (R). In response, Otter issued an executive order allowing children with intractable epilepsy to use Epidiolex in certain circumstances. [6]

South Dakota: In 2019, the South Dakota State Legislature passed a bill amending one section of law by adding Epidiolex to its list of controlled substances. The bill also exempted CBD from the state’s definition of marijuana in that section. [7] Elsewhere in state law, CBD was not exempted from the definition of marijuana. This discrepancy led to confusion that left the legal status of CBD in the state unclear for a year. [8]

After the 2019 changes, Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg (R) issued a statement, wherein he argued all forms of CBD oil, apart from Epidiolex, were illegal under state law. [9] Several state’s attorneys expressed disagreement with the Attorney General’s statements. Aaron McGown and Tom Wollman, state’s attorneys for Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, respectively, issued a joint statement where they said the discrepancy left legality open to differing interpretations. Mark Vargo, the Pennington County state’s attorney, said his office would not prosecute CBD cases based on his interpretation of the state law. [8]

On March 27, 2020, Gov. Kristi Noem (R) signed House Bill 1008 into law, which legalized industrial hemp and CBD oil in the state. [10]

Path to the ballot

The state process

In Florida, the number of signatures required for an initiated constitutional amendment is equal to 8% of the votes cast in the preceding presidential election. Florida also has a signature distribution requirement, which requires that signatures equaling at least 8% of the district-wide vote in the last presidential election be collected from at least half (14) of the state’s 27 congressional districts. Signatures remain valid until February 1 of an even-numbered year. [11] Signatures must be verified by February 1 of the general election year the initiative aims to appear on the ballot.

Proposed measures are reviewed by the state attorney general and state supreme court after proponents collect 25% of the required signatures across the state in each of one-half of the state’s congressional districts (222,898 signatures for 2022 ballot measures). After these preliminary signatures have been collected, the secretary of state must submit the proposal to the Florida Attorney General and the Financial Impact Estimating Conference (FIEC). The attorney general is required to petition the Florida Supreme Court for an advisory opinion on the measure’s compliance with the single-subject rule, the appropriateness of the title and summary, and whether or not the measure “is facially valid under the United States Constitution.” [12]

The requirements to get an initiative certified for the 2022 ballot:

  • Signatures: 891,589 valid signatures are required.
  • Deadline: The deadline for signature verification is February 1, 2022. As election officials have 30 days to check signatures, petitions should be submitted at least one month before the verification deadline.

In Florida, proponents of an initiative file signatures with local elections supervisors, who are responsible for verifying signatures. Supervisors are permitted to use random sampling if the process can estimate the number of valid signatures with 99.5% accuracy. Enough signatures are considered valid if the random sample estimates that at least 115% of the required number of signatures are valid.

Ballotpedia: The Encyclopedia of American Politics

The Laws – Growing Medicinal cannabis in Florida

Who can grow medical marijuana in Florida?

Growing of Cannabis in Florida

Sadly, Florida law prohibits the possession of cannabis plants for personal use. This even includes registered marijuana patients. Regardless of registration or not, you will be charged with possession if found with any marijuana plants. Those charges range from third-degree felony for less than 25 plants; second-degree felony if found with more than 25 plants. Either way, charges will likely land you in jail.

Homegrown medicinal marijuana is forbidden in the state of Florida.

We cannot stress this enough. Marijuana cultivation is a regulated activity that Florida government has reserved for a few commercial growers. These growers should only produce low-THC varieties of marijuana for use among patients looking to reduce seizures and muscle spasms or patients with terminal conditions.

Importing of medicinal marijuana is also forbidden. You cannot grow cannabis outside the state and then bring it for personal use or distribution. Crossing the borders of Florida with marijuana is a felony. This is not a joke.

As some communities in Florida have delayed or ban the opening of medicinal cannabis dispensaries, the producers and retailers are using deliveries to meet the highly increasing demand. Some large companies claim that between one third and half of the customers rely on deliveries to get the drug. Most of the dispensaries are situated on the coasts of Florida or in the heavily populated metropolitan areas, including Gainesville and Orlando, Jacksonville and South Florida. Therefore, in most areas, patients take at least one hour to reach the nearest cannabis dispensary.

How to access medicinal marijuana in Florida

To benefit from medicinal cannabis, you must visit a registered medical cannabis doctor. The doctor should record your data in the State’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use registry. The information they enter specifies the medical marijuana types you need or can afford on a daily basis as well as the number of days the order will remain active. The doctor can make medical suggestions if you are new to the world of medical cannabis. However, you will have to decide on the specific products and strains to go for at the dispensary.

Currently, the registry does not allow physicians to exceed two orders at a time. Therefore, they can only order one for low-THC marijuana and the other for any other type. Low THC cannabis contains little THC levels and they do not produce psychoactive effects. They also contain healing CBD at higher levels. Many medicinal cannabis products contain high THC levels and can have psychoactive effects. The amount of CBD in the type of cannabis varies.

Apart from the two orders, a medical cannabis physician can order two delivery methods per order. For most patients that includes topical and oral methods – others such as inhalation methods are available. Oral products include concentrates, capsules, tincture and syringes. Inhalation cannabis products include vaporizer cups and cartridges. Your doctor should help you select the best strain type and products, but you are the person to make a decision on the route to follow. The doctor should also recommend the dose amount.

Homegrown medicinal marijuana is forbidden in the state of Florida. Cultivation of marijuana is a regulated activity that the government has reserved for few commercial growers. Growers should only produce low-THC varieties of marijuana for use among patients who want to reduce seizures and muscle spasms and among