Bondi casts a cloud over marijuana amendmentby John Kennedy | October 24th, 2013
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi cast a cloud Thursday over a proposed ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana in the state.
Bondi, a Republican, told Florida Supreme Court justices that problems exist with the proposed ballot title and summary, arguing that that they mislead voters about the scope of the amendment. The Supreme Court reviews proposed citizens-sponsored ballot measures to assure they meet constitutional standards and can bar those that do not.
The attorney general’s opinion is merely advisory to justices on the validity of the proposal.
For her part, Bondi said the amendment, “obscured the most fundamental issue underlying its proposal: The nature and scope of marijuana use the amendment would allow.”
While the ballot title and summary say the amendment would allow marijuana to be prescribed only for patients with “debilitating diseases,” it actually “would allow marijuana in limitless situations,” the attorney general concluded.
The amendment would allow patients with cancer, Lou Gehrig’s disease, HIV/AIDs and Parkinson’s disease to be among those eligible for treatment with marijuana. But it also gives doctors authority to prescribe for “other conditions.”
“Particularly for a physician who considers the marijuana’s health risks low, there is no “condition” beyond the amendment’s reach,” Bondi wrote. “The ballot summary does not convey this breathtaking scope, instead telling voters that marijuana would be limited to ‘individuals with debilitating diseases.’”
The proposed Florida constitutional amendment has gained almost 110,000 valid signatures on its way to a required 683,149 verified voter signatures by Feb. 1 to get on the November 2014 ballot.
Those signatures collected so far have triggered the Florida Supreme Court review. Twenty states and the District of Columbia have approved marijuana being prescribed for medical conditions.