Sponsors of medical marijuana ballot proposal grilled by justicesby John Kennedy | December 5th, 2013
Florida Supreme Court justices grilled sponsors of a proposed ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana, questioning whether it misleads voters about who could get prescriptions and makes clear that pot-use still violates federal law.
Justice Fred Lewis sought answers about why the measure should not be considered a “broad catch-all” for doctors to hand out marijuana. Chief Justice Ricky Polston asked whether students “stressed out” about exams could get relief with a pot prescription.
Attorney Jon Mills, a former Democratic state House speaker representing United for Care, the organization, behind the proposal, said the measure’s focus is to help those with “debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”
Mills told justices that, “is the core of this.”
But Solicitor General Allen Winsor, representing Attorney General Pam Bondi along with business associations, law enforcement groups and Republican legislative leaders opposing the measure, said that it is critically flawed and should be barred from going before voters.
Winsor said, “there are forms of illogic throughout this amendment.”
Twenty states and Washington, D.C., have legalized the use of marijuana for treatment of a variety of medical conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s disease and epilepsy.
Eleven of the states have enacted such laws through ballot measures, similar to that promoted in Florida by the organization, United for Care. The campaign has collected 131,655 valid signatures, but must get to a needed 683,149 by Feb. 1 to reach the November 2014 ballot.