By late last night on election day, it was clear that Amendment 2—the amendment allowing those with debilitating conditions to use medicinal marijuana—would pass. Amendment 2 needed at least 60% of the vote to pass, which it did easily by receiving 71% of the vote in favor of passing Amendment 2. Florida now becomes the 26th state to legalize marijuana for either medicinal or recreational purposes. California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada also approved marijuana for recreational use Tuesday night.

Two years ago, Florida had a similar amendment on its ballots for medicinal marijuana, however this amendment fell short of the 60% majority vote it needed to pass. John Morgan, an Orlando trial lawyer who has been outspoken in his support for medicinal marijuana on the ballot, receives a sweet victory after all his efforts on the medicinal marijuana campaign.

As of right now, it is unclear how the medicinal marijuana provision will be implemented in Florida. The Florida Department of Health has a deadline of July 2017 to set in place how they plan on regulating the amendment. By October of 2017, Florida must start registering growers, dispensaries, and issuing medicinal cards to patients.

Recent polls leading up to the election made it seem clear that Amendment 2 was going to pass, despite efforts by Republican fundraise Mel Sembler and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s effort to campaign against medicinal marijuana use. The arguments against the amendment for medicinal marijuana referenced how marijuana dispensaries may not be safe, and an overall unregulated drug industry. However, Amendment 2 allows for the state to closely regulate every aspect of the medicinal marijuana selling and growing process.

On the other hand, supporters of Amendment 2 claimed that medicinal marijuana is a wonder drug that provides relief and therapy to those who have serious medical conditions, along with claiming that marijuana, when regulated, is safe to use. Overall, the passing of Amendment 2 is not only a big step for Florida, but also a big step in the overall process of legalizing marijuana across the nation.


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