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Proposed Medical Marijuana Bill May Undergo a Florida Supreme Court Review

The medical cannabis bill proposed under HB1139 by Rep. Katie Edwards may have been rejected by the Health Quality Subcommittee on May 3, 2013, but it is not dead just yet. Proponents of the bill are now taking the first step toward getting medical marijuana on the 2014 ballot as a constitutional amendment.

To get the medical marijuana initiative language in front of the Florida Supreme Court, supporters need 683,149 signatures of registered Florida voters on petitions prior to January 31, 2014. As of August 21, United For Care reported they received 100,000 signatures. If they can get the amendment in front of voters, they need a 60 percent approval rating to achieve their goal. Considering that recent polls indicate about 70 percent of Floridians approve of medical marijuana, the group believes it can become law in 2014.

If the law changes in the future, Florida will join 20 other states and Washington, DC in permitting the use of medical marijuana. However, the legislation may continue to be highly restrictive, limited to use only in the following forms:

  • Pills
  • Oil
  • Topical

Under current Florida law, even misdemeanor convictions for possession of 20 grams or less of marijuana can result in incarceration for up to one year. Possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana is a felony and potentially punishable by a much lengthier prison sentence. Convictions for marijuana offenses can also result in a suspension of your driver’s license as well as the assessment of hundrends of dollars on court costs and fines.

The substantial consequences for any drug conviction can be both devastating and life-changing. Clearly, individuals facing any charges for possession of marijuana need an experienced Florida drug crime defense attorney to advocate on their behalf immediately after arrest.

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