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Florida Supreme Court Approves Medical Marijuana Initiative

By: Associated Press News, Florida Supreme Court, James Buechele Email
By: Associated Press News, Florida Supreme Court, James Buechele Email

UPDATE 11:15 p.m.

Takneesha Moulton was diagnosed with gastroparecis eight years ago. The nerve inside her stomach is dead which makes breaking down food and even eating painful.

"Sometimes you get flair ups where your stomach just gets terribly painful," said Moulton. "You get hospitalized. You get infections."

Moulton has to take painkillers just to get by. A drug called Marinol costs almost $200 per month, according to Moulton. The drug helps with nausea and pain but she can't afford it.

"I can't afford Marinol because I'm on Medicare and unfortunately Medicare doesn't pay for my prescription."

Thanks to the Florida Supreme Court's ruling on Monday, medical marijuana could be a solution to her problem. Voters will head to the polls in November to vote on the issue.

"Most people say that marijuana is it don't really hurt them or nothing so I don't see anything wrong with it," said TCC student Darryl Hogans.

Moulton says if the measure passes it will make life on a daily basis that much easier.

"It's hard to live with pain like that and hard to make yourself eat. I just think it would be great if they did that in Florida."


News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: January 27, 2014

By BRENDAN FARRINGTON

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- A Florida measure that would allow the use of medical marijuana has cleared its final hurdle and will be on the November ballot.

The state Supreme Court on Monday approved the language for the proposed constitutional amendment.

The justices approved the ballot summary 4-3 just three days after a petition drive reached the required number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

The decision is a defeat for Attorney General Pam Bondi, who challenged the ballot language by saying it's misleading.

Personal injury lawyer John Morgan has spent about $4 million to place the issue before voters.

Gov. Rick Scott is opposed to medical marijuana. His Democrats challengers, state Sen. Nan Rich and former Gov. Charlie Crist, both support it.


News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: January 24, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- The medical marijuana petition drive has enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot, and now it's up to the state Supreme Court to give its approval.

The proposed constitutional amendment surpassed the number of needed voter signatures on Friday. The proposed amendment would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for debilitating conditions.

Elections supervisors have certified 710,508 signatures, more than the 683,149 needed to get on the ballot.

Still, the Supreme Court has yet to rule on Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi's challenge of the ballot summary. Her office has argued that the language will mislead voters into allowing more widespread use of medical marijuana than they would be led to believe in the 74-word summary.


News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: January 21, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Rick Scott will vote against a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the medical use of marijuana if it makes the 2014 ballot.

Scott said through a spokeswoman Tuesday that he has empathy for people battling difficult diseases, but he's also seen the damage drug abuse can do.

Scott previously has said he is opposed to "illegal drug abuse" and he's supported Attorney General Pam Bondi's challenge to keep the proposal off the ballot based on its summary language.

But he's been less specific about the medical marijuana issue.

Scott, though, says he will respect the will of voters if they approve a medical marijuana amendment.

Lawyer John Morgan is leading a petition drive that is approaching the number of signatures needed to put the issue on the ballot.


News Release: Associated Press News

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Medical marijuana supporters say they have collected enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot.

The group pushing the constitutional amendment announced Wednesday it has collected more than 1.1 million signatures.

It takes nearly 700,000 signatures from registered voters in order to qualify for the ballot. So far election supervisors have certified nearly 458,000 signatures.

Groups pushing a constitutional amendment typically gather more signatures than needed in case some are rejected.

In order the make this year's ballot, the state Supreme Court must also approve the language that will go on the ballot.

Attorney General Pam Bondi has called the amendment misleading and wants the court to reject it.

If the court approves the wording, the amendment needs a yes vote from 60 percent of the voters in order to pass.


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