United for Care, the campaign run by People United for Medical Marijuana (PUFMM), announcedtoday that they had enough signatures required to be placed on Florida‘s 2016 ballot. The campaign exceeded the 683,149 signatures required to appear before voters in the November general election, and now are awaiting official designation as Amendment 2, which is expected to happen very shortly.
A statement on the United for Care site, from organization chair and attorney John Morgan, reads, “This effort cost millions of dollars – but it needed to happen. The legislature sat on its heels. Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Pam Bondi stood against us. But I told you when we came up short in 2014 that we would win the war, and we will. Medical marijuana is coming to Florida.”
Recent polling shows that over 70% of Floridians support the legalization of medical marijuana. If it is approved by voters, Florida will join 23 other states and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana is already providing relief and therapeutic value to residents. Studies show that patients suffering from HIV/AIDS, glaucoma, cancer and chemotherapy, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and other illnesses find that medical marijuana provides relief from their symptoms.
There are at least three legally prescribed drugs that are extracted from marijuana, including Sativex, used to treat muscle spasms and stiffness, Marinol, an FDA-approved drug used for treatment of nausea in patients undergoing chemotherapy, and Cesamet, which also treats nausea in chemotherapy patients, and is also FDA-approved. Sativex is not currently approved by the FDA for use in the U.S., but is in use in 27 other countries. There are a large number of other plant-based cannabinoids currently being researched. Only the cannabinoid THC is known to cause intoxication, and therefore is not being included in the studies; there is no evidence that any of the other cannabinoids have psychoactive effects.
With the current state of constant pain that many Florida residents are forced to endure, due to repeatedly being denied access to pharmaceutical medications and controlled substances that have been prescribed by their licensed physicians, this is a definite sign of hope.