Legalization amendment adjusts, Bondi backs off


The strangers loitering around the Library and Cooper Hall with clipboards full of petitions for the legalization of medical marijuana may have given a small fist pump Monday when one of their biggest adversaries sidelined herself.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has remained outside of the discussion for adding the legalization amendment to the ballot next year, According to the Tampa Bay Times.

“Based on the Court’s decision in 2014, I have not filed a legal challenge to the current amendment,” Bondi said in the Times’ article. “But my concerns with it are the same.”

The amendment was proposed by grassroots organization People United for Medical Marijuana through the campaign United For Care, which is not unfamiliar with the USF campus.

A recent poll of registered voters in Florida conducted by Bay News 9 showed 62 percent of registered voters in college would vote to approve the amendment.

Before the 2014 election, members of the campaign joined “students and other organizations on campus to show the public” the support the campaign has garnered. Orlando-based attorney John Morgan, a major supporter of the campaign, was featured in a question-and-answer session at the event.

At the time of print, the amendment is not confirmed as part of the ballot, so there are no such rallies planned.

The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, known as amendment 2, may be on the 2016 ballot, as the Florida Supreme Court is currently reviewing it ahead of the upcoming elections.

In 2014, the Initiative failed on the ballot after getting 3 percent shy of the required supermajority vote (60 percent). Since then, United For Care has reworked its campaign to address criticism from opponents who argued minors could purchase medical marijuana without parental consent.

The Bay News 9 poll revealed 56 percent of registered voters in high school — a majority of whom are minors in terms of the sale of alcohol, which may be a similar standard for marijuana sales — would approve the amendment.

The new language in the amendment also clarifies that only specific conditions and “other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated,” according to the Times.

Also according to the Bay News 9 poll, 72 percent of voters who listed “health care” as a top issue would approve the amendment.

Additionally, the amendment was revised to include a provision for preventing drug dealers from easily obtaining caregiver cards by setting high qualification standards and enforcing annual background checks, according to the Times.

With normally outspoken legalization adversary Bondi sitting this one out, United For Care will look forward to the Court’s ruling on the new language, and supporters of the amendment will keep their fingers crossed.