Miami, FL, United States (4E) – The Florida Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the wording of the proposed constitutional amendment allowing medical marijuana is not misleading clearing its inclusion in the November 2014 general election ballot.
The ballot title and summary, which says “the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician,” accurately convey the limited use of marijuana, the justices said in a 4-3 opinion.
The state’s Attorney General Pam Bondi, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz plus conservative lobby groups in the Florida capitol had opposed the wording of the ballot arguing that voters would be misled into legalizing marijuana under the guise of helping sick people.
Justices Barbara Pariente, Fred Lewis, Peggy Quince and James Perry rejected the argument concluding that the use of ‘diseases’ instead of ‘conditions’ in the ballot summary will not reasonably mislead the voters.”
Opposing and dissenting Justices Charles Canady, Ricky Polston and Jorge Labarga disagreed saying the summary deceptively employs the term ‘disease’ and fails to disclose that a physician need only believe that the benefits of marijuana use would likely outweigh the risks from the disease. They also argued that the summary failed “to disclose the broad immunity that would be granted if the amendment passes and because they falsely imply that the use and possession of marijuana in accordance with the amendment would not violate federal law.”
Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan has largely financed the initiative spending $2.8 million, including the $2 million cost of signature-gathering in December and a $909,000 loan from his law firm to the People United for Medical Marijuana, the citizens’ organization that pushed for the proposal.