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Politics

Does Medical Marijuana On Amendment Two Still Have A Chance?

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If voters approve Amendment Two, legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Legislature will have the final say in how the amendment is carried out.

Lawmakers have the power to keep tight controls over how the drug is cultivated and dispensed.

Below, read an edited version of a conversation between WLRN's Tallahassee reporter Gina Jordan and Mary Ellen Klas of the Herald/Times Tallahassee bureau.

What aren't the medical marijuana ads telling voters? 

The Florida Legislature controls the fate of what happens with this amendment. A lot of people say that we're going to have pot shops on every corner and anyone that has a hangnail is going to have access to medical marijuana. That can only happen if the legislature decides that's what they want to happen.

The proponents of this amendment have been riding on the notion that they should appeal to young people. They think that young people will see this as an opportunity to have more access to recreational marijuana.

They're not coming right out and saying that this is what'll happen, but they're touring college campuses with the idea that they want these people to think if they get caught with marijuana it's not the end of the world anymore. This isn't going to happen, it's not going to be any easier to get medical marijuana than it is now. It actually could protect people now from marijuana where they don't where it's been grown or how potent it is. 

As far as polling goes, what are Amendment Two's chances at this point?

You know, I think it reached its high about nine months ago. There are a lot of high-profile individuals that have come out in opposition to this. There have been a few newspaper editorial boards that have opposed the medical marijuana amendment because it's too broad.

I think all those people are forgetting the power of the Legislature. If we're going make this happen in Florida, they're the ones that are going to control it. Now the amendment says the Legislature has to deal with it. 

Suppose Amendment Two fails. Is there a chance the Legislature will put rules in place during the next session, just in case a future vote passes?

It's clear that we've reached a turning point in Florida, that medical marijuana is going to be on the agenda every legislative session going forward. If this doesn't pass, we'll see more broadening of it, not as quickly as if the amendment passed, but it will happen in time.