Florida votes for medical marijuana, tax breaks

Three of the four amendments presented on the Florida ballot this election passed, while Amendment 1 failed.

Amendment 2, which passed with 71 percent, legalizes medical marijuana for patients with debilitating diseases or conditions such as HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, cancer, ALS and PTSD. A similar provision didn’t pass two years ago.

Florida has become the 26th state to legalize either medical or recreational use of marijuana. This year’s measure requires parental consent for minors to use marijuana, defines “debilitating” illnesses and states that physicians wouldn’t be immune from malpractice claims for negligently prescribing marijuana.

The push for medical marijuana was led by Orlando lawyer John Morgan, who introduced the 2014 amendment.

There’s already been limited access to medical marijuana at select dispensaries in the state. It is expected to take a few months for more to get licensed and open.

Amendment 3 provides property tax exemptions starting next tax year for first responders disabled in the line of duty. This passed with 84 percent of the vote.

Amendment 5 adds a condition to a current property tax exemptions for low-income seniors. It will allow county/city governments to grant exemption for seniors whose property value rises over the current $250,000 limit. This passed with 78 percent of the vote.

Amendment 1 failed 49 percent to 51 percent — it needed to get 60 percent of the popular vote in order to pass. It would have allowed state and local govnerments to prevent people who do not choose to produce solar energy from having to subsidize for those who do. It comes across as pro-solar but was proven to actually restrict its use and future production.