On November 8, Florida voters said yes to Amendment 2. This will expand the state’s medical marijuana program. And most importantly, it will make it available to more patients. After a long campaign, the amendment won easily.
Amendment 2: The Details
Back in 2014 Florida passed the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act. It went into effect in 2015. Under that program, patients were not allowed to use smokeable marijuana.
But Amendment 2 will expand this program. Now, patients with can get approved to use medical marijuana. Here are the health conditions that qualify:
Doctors can also prescribe medical marijuana to patients with “other debilitating medical conditions.” But first, doctors have to be licensed with the state.
The Department of Health will also register and regulate medical marijuana production. And it will do the same thing with companies that sell medical marijuana.
“This is a major tipping point,” said activist Tom Angell. “With Florida’s decision, a majority of states in the U.S. now have laws allowing patients to find relief with medical marijuana. And these programs are no longer concentrated in certain regions of the country like the west and northeast.”
A Landslide Victory
Amendment 2 won easily. At the end of the day, just under 6.5 million voters said yes. There were 2.6 million who voted no. That means that 71.3% of voters were in favor of the amendment. And 28.7% were against it.
This landslide win is important. It shows huge support for cannabis. And that support isn’t just in Florida. It’s around the entire country.
A recent survey found that 54% of all Americans support recreational marijuana. And that number goes up for medical marijuana. 89% of all Americans support medical marijuana.
All this popular support is a game changer. And not just in Florida. Things are changing all over the place. There were nine states voting on cannabis laws this year. Eight of them passed.
The Road Less Taken By Florida Voters
But it wasn’t an easy road to victory. In fact, a similar amendment failed in 2014. And as a result, there was some heated activity this year.
Amendment 2 faced some challenges along the way. At one point, Publix heiress Carol Jenkins Barnett donated $800,000 to defeat it. Publix is a chain of supermarkets in Florida.
Despite this, the amendment still came out on top. Groups in favor of the change raised $6.1 million. Those against it brought in $3.4 million.
And it all added up. Patients in Florida will now have better access to the medicine they need.