John Morgan, Chairman at United for Care, announces win in an email.
Nearly 4 years. Two elections. Over 2 million petitions from Florida voters. $8 million of my money. 18,238 donations from 8,287 of supporters
like you. Over $10 million spent against us, fighting compassion.
This is it. WE did it. YOU did it.
Hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering Floridians will now benefit from this law, and soon.
This was never about winning an election, although that's exactly what we did tonight. The election was a means to an end. The end was always, always always delivering compassion to those who could benefit, those desperate for the relief medical marijuana can bring.
I'm a superstitious guy. My pre-election ritual involves taking a long walk on the beach with my wife and spending Election Day and night at home.
Our campaign manager, Ben Pollara, has his election traditions too. He gets Chinese takeout with his wife the night before. Last night he sent me a picture of his fortune cookie. It read:
The will of the people is the best law.
I couldn't agree more.
The People spoke tonight.
For almost four years I've been telling you two things.
One. Compassion is coming.
Tonight, I also have two messages for you.
Compassion is HERE!!!!
And, I will always deliver this message:
Yes on 2
MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS SUPPORT MEDICAL MARIJUANA
(Miami, FL) – United for Care published a list of 102 medical professionals to its website. The list includes practicing physicians, retired physicians, ER nurses, home-health nurses, clinical psychologists and other medical professionals from throughout Florida.
Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager, stated, “Our opposition has, for years, made the false claim that medical professionals are against medical marijuana and Amendment 2. In fact, there is a large number of medical professionals and associations that are openly supporting medical marijuana and want this to pass. Many, many others support the measure and are not ready to comment publicly, as this first group has."
- Andrew E. Hano, DO., St Petersburg, Hematology-oncology
- Anthony J. Hall, MDCM, FACS, FAANS., Lauderhill, neurological surgery
- Richard Sabates, Delray Beach, Family medicine and pain management
- Jose Foradada, Tampa, Pediatric Neurology Specialist
- David Duncan, Cape Coral, Paramedic
- Jose A. Colindres, Broward/Palm Beach County, Pediatrician and Neonatologist
- Abner Martin Landry III, Largo, MD, FACR, Interventional Pain Specialist
- Jeffrey Kamlet, MD., Miami, Addiction Specialist
- Bernard Cantor, MD., Weston, Gynecology and Obstetrics (retired)
- Selim Benbadis, Tampa, Neurologist and Neurosurgeon
- Gregory Gerdeman, PhD., St Pete, Biology and Pharmacology
- Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Tampa, Neurologist
- Anne Morgan, MD., Palm Beach Gardens, Family Medicine
- Clifford Selsky, Ph.D., MD., Orlando, Palliative Care Pediatrician and Pediatric Oncology and Hematology
- Jeffrey Milley, St. Pete Beach, Registered Pharmacist
- Joseph Rosado, MD., Sanford, Primary Care Physician
- Kathryn Limper, Tampa, RN BSN
- Sasha Parker, Fort Lauderdale, Nurse
- Nicole Tracey, Fort Myers, RN OCN
- John H. Merey, MD., West Palm Beach, Ophthalmologist
- Ray Bellamy, MD., Tallahassee, Orthopedic Surgeon
- Carol L. Roberts, MD., Tampa, Integrative Medicine ABIHM
- Stephen Blythe, Melbourne, Family Physician
- Kathryn Lotspeich Villano, MD., Miami, Internal Medicine (retired)
- Jason Sturtsman,Vero Beach, B.A.E., Ed.S., School Psychologist
- César Rexach, Kissimmee, RN, MSN., Health Care Education
- Silvia Betancor, MD., Miami, Internal medicine
- Brenda Valdez, Live Oak, RN, Home Health
- Luis Galano-Lavin, Palm Coast, Family Medicine/Urgent Care
- Maria McConchie, Fort Lauderdale, Nurse Anesthetist
- Debbie Johnson, Orlando, RN, CHPN, Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse, Education
- Caroline Faxas, Hallandale, Board Certified Acupuncture Physician, Herbalist
- Tracy Christian, Palm Beach, Compounding Pharmacist, Pharmacy Owner
- Robert H Dudley, MD., Delray Beach, palliative and hospice care
- Ike Okeke, Tampa, Pharmacist
- Tammy Lettieri, Deerfield Beach,Physical Therapist
- Jonathan King, Jacksonville,RN
- Michelle Weiner, DO, MPH., Hollywood, Interventional Pain management / physical medicine and rehabilitation
- Megan King, Jacksonville ,RN
- Lisa Otero, Altamonte Springs , RN,
- Jeanne DeSilver, Jacksonville ,RN Retired,
- David Berger, MD., FAAP., Pediatrician, Owner and Medical Director, Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care
- Elsie Eten, Safety Harbor, RN Retired,
- Linda Claassen, Deland, Hospice RN,
- Michael Bean, Melbourne, RN, CEN,
- Michelle Lynn Collier, RPh., Winter Garden, Clinical pharmacist
- Michael Dziubek, Sarasota, RN
- Terri P. Kelly, Tarpon Springs, RN, Oncology Research Auditor
- James F. Jones, Amelia Island, Acupuncture Physician
- Diane Loo, Miami, RN, Certified Wound Care Nurse
- Dennis Howard, Venice, Retired RN 03’, Critical Care Nurse
- Shannon Perez, Coral Gables, RN, Critical Care Nurse
- Marty Landy, Largo, MD FACR
- Patrick Criss, Kennesaw, GA., D.C., B.S. (Licensed In Florida and Georgia)
- Richard Bolin, Eustis, ER RN
- Anthony M. Walker, Hollywood, R.N.
- Don Vliegenthart, Melbourne, Nonoperative Orthopedics and Pain Management
- Clyde Pence, Pensacola, Nephrologist
- Robert V. Siegel, Fort Walton Beach ,General Physician
- Kathaleen Davis, Ft. Myers, Psychiatric Nurse, Certified Hospice and Wound Care
- Leonarda Duran,MD, Miami, Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist
- J.D. Gold, PhD., Summerfield, Clinical Psychologist
- Scott Nations, Largo, Registered ER Nurse
- Elizabeth Kostelnick, Crystal River, RN
- Geena Palank, Stuart, RN BSN
- Michelle Backus, Sebring, RN
- Sasha Parker, Fort Lauderdale, RN/Educational Director Esthetic Skin Institute
- Liva Jacobs, Miami, RN
- Joy S. Graham, MD., Palm Beach Gardens, Anesthesiologist
- Alisa Fuller, Orlanda, RN BSN
- Maria Medina Capote, MD., Miami, pediatrician
- Jerry Capote, MD., Miami, pediatrician
- Shannon Carnley, Bartow, RN
- Justin Sellers, Orlando, Radiologic Technologist, CT Scan and MRI Certified
- Cesar Rexach, Kissimmee, Retired RN MSN
- Andrew Margileth, Miami, Pediatric Dermatologist
- Charles Montgomery, Lakeland, RN
- Steven Bowman, Clearwater, MD of Internal Medicine
- Donna Lahey, Marathon, Clinical Laboratory Technologist
- Barry Apfel, Boca Raton, Registered pharmacist
- Jonathan Daitch, MD., Fort Myers, Pain management
- Rachel Bjornstad, Pensacola, Medical Technologist
- Nancy Barstow, Venice, RN
- Lawrence Schiffman, DO., FAOCD., Doral, dermatology
- John W. Pate, Fountain ,RN
- Tina McBride, Punta Gorda, RN
- Jim Funk, Gainesville, ARNP (retired)
- Andrew Sutherland, Orlando, Doctor of Chiropractics
- Pam Pirraglia, RN, CCM, CDMS; Nurse Case Manager
- Purvin Shah, DO, Jacksonville, Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care Medicine
- Stephanie Smithgall, Callahan, RN
- Cyndi Christine, Port Orange, RN (retired)
- Yolanda C. Leon, Psy.D., ABPdN - Tampa/Gainesville, Neuropsychologist, Clinical Psychologist, School Psychologist, Pediatric Neuropsychology
- Justin Davis, M.D., Gainesville, Family practice, alternative and integrative medicine
- Tricia Gibbs, Sarasota, Medical assistant
- Eyad Alsabbag, M.D., Brooksville, Pain management
- Bill Hadley, Tampa, RN
- Valerie Pasqualini, Del ray, RN and risk manager
- Peter A. Radice, MD, FACP, FAAHPM., Tampa, Supportive Oncology, Palliative Care
- Michael Uphues, DO, Naples, Family medicine
- Linda Colindres, St. Pete, RN
- Bruce Alperstein, MD., Milton, internal medicine
Support is growing for Amendment 2 and the campaign to see an expanded medical marijuana program in Florida is anounces it with press release.
Press Release: Florida Times-Union, Ft. Myers News Press Endorse Amendment 2; Both Were Opposed in 2014
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2016
CONTACT: BIANCA GARZA
Third newspaper to change endorsement from 2014
(Miami Beach, FL) -- This weekend the editorial boards of two major Florida daily newspapers - the Florida Times-Union and the Ft. Myers News-Press - urged their readers to vote "yes" on Amendment 2. Both papers' editorial boards had opposed Amendment 2 in 2014.
The Times-Union's editorial is titled, "An improved medical marijuana amendment deserves support." They say the 2016 amendment is "better crafted" and cite the unanimous decision from the Florida Supreme Court as proof. They also note the amendment "was crafted with the abuses of pill mills in mind so there is an extra step for approval," and it makes "clear that physicians who abuse the law still are liable for current malpractice laws."
The News-Press said they support Amendment 2 to, "help those patients dealing with severe pain brought on by disease and other severe ailments." They note that the definition of who qualifies under the law has been made "more specific" and that "A parent's written consent is required in order for children to use the drug and caregivers must have appropriate background checks."
The Bradenton Herald editorial board declared its support for medical marijuana in February, and was the first newspaper to change its position from 2014. To date, 11 large daily newspapers in Florida have issued endorsements on Amendment 2; 9 of 11 have told readers to vote "yes."
Links to 2016 editorial board endorsements:
MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT POLLING NEAR 80% IN RECENT SURVEY
(Miami Beach, FL) -- In a survey conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research on behalf of United for Care, likely Florida voters favor Amendment 2 - "Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions" - by a margin of 77%-20%. Anzalone conducted a similar survey for United for Care in June, 2014 in which the previous version of Amendment 2 received 69% support. The medical marijuana amendment ultimately received 58% in the last election, just shy of the 60% that Florida law requires for passage.
Kevin Akins, of Anzalone Liszt Grove, said of the recent polling, “Voter support for medical marijuana in Florida is stronger than ever. A broad and diverse coalition of voters across age, racial, and gender lines support Amendment 2 by a winning margin."
Indeed, the survey showed only 3% undecided. Other recent polls have shown similarly small levels of undecided voters on this issue.
United for Care campaign manager, Ben Pollara, said, "I'm obviously pleased at these levels of support, but I'm also not surprised. The notion of allowing medical decisions to be made by doctors and patients, not politicians, is simply not controversial. Floridians are compassionate and they know that marijuana can help alleviate suffering.”
“The 2016 ballot language is also stronger and addressed a number of concerns that some voters expressed previously. It was approved unanimously by the supreme court, and we’re seeing a broader coalition supportive of passage than before,” said Pollara.
Respondents to United for Care's poll were read the complete ballot title and summary for amendment 2 - "Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions" - that will appear on Florida's 2016 general election ballot, then asked if they would vote "yes" or "no" on the amendment. The poll was conducted July 17-21 and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1%. The poll included bilingual dialing, and 46% of the poll was among cell phone completes, while 39% of the poll was among cell phone-only households.
For press inquiries please contact Bianca Garza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Powered by over 14,000 volunteers, United for Care is the largest organization in Florida fighting for a sensible medical marijuana law. United for Care is a non-partisan campaign with an on-the-ground presence across the state.
Medical marijuana will be legally for sale next week, but it is not a time to celebrate or stop working.
While it is technically accurate medical marijuana will be "available" next week for purchase in Florida—due to some limited bills passed by the legislature—the reality is that all but a few who should have access (and would under Amendment 2) will still find themselves without it. The limitations and constraints of the laws are so great that very few doctors can currently recommend medical marijuana, and virtually no patients will actually be able to buy it.
Paraphrasing John Morgan... That's just f***ing stupid.
Meanwhile, our opponents are pouring money into their campaign to try to make it so these patients NEVER have access. (Fight back here.)
Amendment 2 remains the ONLY way to secure medical marijuana, with no fear of arrest or imprisonment, for the hundreds of thousands of patients suffering from a variety of serious, debilitating conditions and illnesses. It also provides a regulatory environment that will make sure doctors can legally recommend marijuana to their patients.
Current law, with an exception for terminally ill patients, allows solely for "low-THC Cannabis". The vast preponderance of science, medicine and anecdote say that THC, the chemical that gets a person "high", is also the component that brings much of the plant's medicinal benefits.
So yes, marijuana will be on sale next week in Florida. But few will qualify, fewer still will be able to find a doctor to make the order, and those few who can may not be helped by what they purchase.
If sick and suffering Floridians are ever to truly see relief through medical marijuana, voters must approve Amendment 2 this November.
- Ben Pollara
United for Care
United for Care is the largest organization advocating for the passage of Amendment 2, "Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions."
The organization's Campaign Manager, Ben Pollara, had this to say about the Senate's decision, "Today the Senate agonized over, before finally passing, SB 460, which supposedly expands the number of eligible medical marijuana patients in Florida. Unfortunately, because of the persistent ineptitude of the state legislature, there are presently zero eligible medical marijuana patients in the state. The bill's passage today is merely more lipstick on the pig that is Tallahassee's failed 'medical marijuana' law. Sick and suffering Floridians will only see relief by approving Amendment 2 in the November elections."
Public Policy Polling states, "It looks like there's a good chance the second time will be the charm when it comes to getting a medical marijuana initiative passed in Florida. 65% of voters say they'll vote for one this fall to only 28% who are opposed, passing the 60% threshold with some breathing room. There's bipartisan support for the measure with Democrats (75/18), independents (70/22), and Republicans (53/40) all expressing their favor for it."
See all results here.
Bradenton Herald Endorses Amendment 2; Had Opposed Medical Marijuana in 2014 Election
(Miami Beach, FL) - In a surprising about-face from their previous opposition to the 2014 medical marijuana constitutional amendment, the editorial board of the Bradenton Herald endorsed Amendment 2 for the 2016 election. This is the second Florida newspaper to endorse Amendment 2 in the last week, after the Miami Herald did so on February 11, 2016. (The Miami Herald endorsed amendment 2 in 2014 as well.)
The Bradenton Herald’s editorial scathingly critiqued the Florida legislature’s inaction on the issue of medical marijuana, beginning the piece by saying, “Legislators are once again abdicating their responsibilities on the issue of medical marijuana.” They go on to call lawmakers “tone deaf”, accuse them of “ignoring citizens”, and chide Tallahassee politicians for failing to “get [their] act together”.
In their endorsement of the 2016 constitutional amendment, the editorial states that, “The new language resolves all the objectionable provisions of the flawed 2014 initiative.” It goes on to call the amendment, “much improved with various clarifying revisions.”
United for Care Campaign Manager, Ben Pollara, praised the editorial, “The Bradenton Herald gets it right: Florida needs a comprehensive medical marijuana law, and the inaction of Tallahassee politicians leaves us no other options but to amend the Florida constitution. We are honored to have the endorsement of the Herald’s editorial board.”
United for Care receives SEIU Florida Endorsement; 55,000 Nurses, Doctors and Healthcare Workers Endorse Medical Marijuana
Today the Service Employees International Union of Florida (SEIU Florida) proudly announced its endorsement of United for Care’s ballot initiative, which will allow Florida voters the chance to vote on medical marijuana in November 2016. In the 2014 election, the SEIU supported United for Care and Amendment 2, which received 58% in that election.
SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers in the state. SEIU Florida’s members provide crucial services in hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities across the state.
“We are honored to again receive the support of the SEIU,” said Ben Pollara, Campaign Manager at United for Care. “The endorsement from the union representing the largest number of healthcare workers in the State is particularly rewarding. We will proudly fight alongside SEIU Florida to secure the rights of doctors and their patients with debilitating conditions to make medical decisions without having to live like criminals.”
A representative of the SEIU Florida State Council expressed her support for both United for Care and the new proposed amendment.
“The Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions ballot initiative is about compassion and quality of care for patients. There are hundreds of thousands of very sick Floridians who will find relief due to this comprehensive proposal. There are 24 other states that have a medical marijuana law; United for Care is doing the right thing for Florida by bringing this issue to the voters. Moreover, the proposal puts medical decisions back in their proper place- between patient and doctor,” said Martha Baker, RN, president of SEIU Local 1991, which represents nurses, doctors and other healthcare professionals at Florida’s largest public hospital.
Baker, who is also Vice President of SEIU Florida, continued to say, “Seriously ill patients should not have to expose themselves to prosecution for seeking to obtain the medicine they need to relieve their symptoms, and no physician should have to put their freedom or their license at risk for recommending the use of that medicine.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE: Wednesday, January 27, 2016
CONTACT: Bianca Garza
(Miami Beach, FL) - The Florida Division of Elections shows that the initiative petition, “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions”, has exceeded the 683,149 signatures required to be placed on the 2016 ballot. It will appear before voters as Amendment 2 in the November general election after the division issues their final certification on February 2nd, 2016. The amendment was previously approved by the Florida Supreme Court in a 7–0 decision.
“Compassion is coming,” said United for Care chairman, John B. Morgan, who largely funded the signature collection campaign for the initiative. “This November, Florida will pass this law and hundreds of thousands of sick and suffering people will see relief. What Tallahassee politicians refused to do, the people will do together in this election.”
Morgan continued, “Our language is stronger than in 2014 and it shows. Pam Bondi didn’t challenge us this time. The Court approved our language unanimously. The people of Florida are compassionate. We will win this election for the really sick people in our state.”
To be placed on the ballot, a constitutional amendment requires the signatures of 683,149 registered Florida voters as well as signatures representing 8% of the 2012 electorate in at least half of Florida’s 27 congressional districts. At the time of release, the Division of Elections was reporting that 692,981 total signatures and 14 congressional districts had qualified. In addition to the signature requirement, the Florida Supreme Court must opine on the constitutionality of the amendment language, which they did unanimously in a December opinion. A constitutional amendment requires a 60% vote in support to pass. The previous medical marijuana amendment, on the November 2014 ballot, received 58%, falling just short of passage.
United for Care’s campaign manager and treasurer, Ben Pollara, said, “This is a tremendous victory for patients and doctors in our state. Amendment 2 will pass this fall and less than a year from today Florida will join 23 other states and the District of Columbia in allowing physicians to recommend marijuana to individuals with debilitating conditions. Every day, doctors prescribe dangerous, addictive, and potentially deadly narcotics to their patients but can’t even suggest the use of marijuana, which has never killed a person in thousands of years of human civilization. Very soon, Florida doctors will finally have that option.”
For press inquiries please contact Bianca Garza at email@example.com.
Powered by over 13,000 volunteers, United for Care is the largest organization in Florida fighting for a sensible medical marijuana law. United for Care is a non-partisan campaign with an on-the-ground presence across the state including a campaign office in Miami and Tampa.
Pd. Pol. Adv. paid for by People United for Medical Marijuana, 20 North Orange Avenue, Suite 1600, Orlando, FL 32801.