Whether you hate it or love it, marijuana has a chance by electoral vote.
On Nov. 4, residents of Florida will get to decide with a yes or no on Amendment 2: Florida’s Right to Medicinal Marijuana Initiative. The amendment would guarantee patients, licensed doctors or registered marijuana centers be exempt from any legal liability by the state.
If Amendment 2 passes in the state of Florida, it could create a gateway for further legalization of marijuana. Taking a look back at how gradual steps made it legal in states such as Colorado, promote the inevitable question, is recreational marijuana in Florida’s future?
The passage of Amendment 20 on Nov. 7, 2000 was the first of its kind in Colorado. Amendment 20 had set the use of medicinal marijuana with policies similar to what Florida is proposing in Amendment 2. The passage did not come without complications, when in April 2013, Courts v. Dish Network held that employers in Colorado may fire their employees under conditions that they test positive for marijuana in the work place.
Marijuana might have been legal state-wide, but marijuana remains federally illegal. Circumstances such as Courts’ could arise if Amendment 2 passes in Florida. Brandon Courts is a quadriplegic who was fired from Dish Network after failing a drug test while using marijuana for medicinal purposes. Courts v. Dish Network has since gone to the Colorado Supreme Court. The hearing is still up for ruling.
Amendment 64 passed on Nov. 6, 2012 in Colorado allowing citizens over 21 to possess marijuana for recreational purposes. Citizens can share one ounce with other persons of age and may possess one ounce while travelling. Since the passage of Amendment 64, the state of Colorado has collected $1.9 million in marijuana taxes and the crime rate in Denver is down by 10 percent, according to The Inquisitr.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll from July 28, 18-29 year olds are already in favor 72 percent for the recreational use of marijuana in Florida. “Even though a proposal to legalize medical marijuana, on the ballot this November, must meet a 60 percent threshold, these numbers make a strong bet the referendum is likely to pass,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Investors are already anticipating one South Florida farmer, owner of Alpha Foliage in Homestead Chuck Buster, as a potential nursery license holder in a state proposed lottery. “Everybody is trying to be a part of this,” said Buster. The passage of Amendment 2 has yet to be approved and Florida is preparing for a “yes” vote on medical marijuana.
Perhaps recreational marijuana is in the near future for Florida? Only the passage of Amendment 2 can determine that.