NORTHWEST FLORIDA DAILY NEWS: Senator offers roadmap for carrying out marijuana ammendment

By Dara Kam TALLAHASSEE - A key senator Thursday released the Legislature's first attempt at carrying out a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, with the proposal calling for a growing number of marijuana licenses and making it easier for doctors to order the treatment for patients.

The bill by Sen. Rob Bradley, who was instrumental in passage of medical-marijuana laws in 2014 and 2016, came days after health officials published proposed regulations to implement the constitutional amendment, which received more than 71 percent approval from voters in November.

Under Bradley's bill, the state could see another 20 marijuana operators - nearly quadruple the seven current licensed "dispensing organizations" - once the number of patients registered for the treatment reaches 500,000.

Christian Bax, director of the Florida Department of Health's Office of Compassionate Use, told lawmakers last week he expects that many patients to be registered in a state database by the end of the year.

Bradley's plan (SB 406) would also do away with a current requirement that doctors treat patients for at least 90 days before being allowed to order marijuana for them and would expand from 45 days to 90 days the amount of marijuana supplies patients can purchase. The legislation would also ban edible marijuana products "in a format designed to be attractive to children."

Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee that backed Amendment 2 in November, called Bradley's effort "a stark contrast" to the rule proposed Tuesday by the Department of Health.

"It's a good start toward implementing both the letter and the spirit of the constitutional amendment," Pollara said in a telephone interview Thursday.

While the health department's proposed rule appears to overlay requirements now in the Constitution onto current Florida law, Bradley's legislation makes frequent references to the amendment, Pollara said.

"I appreciate the fact that Sen. Bradley's bill actually respects that we're implementing a constitutional amendment here," he said.

The constitutional amendment allows doctors to order marijuana as a treatment for patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. Doctors also have the power to order marijuana for "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."

The constitutional amendment allows doctors to order marijuana as a treatment for patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis. Doctors also have the power to order marijuana for "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."

Bradley's proposal does not include any language that would restrict doctors' ability to decide for themselves if patients qualify for marijuana treatment. But his bill does include a definition of "chronic nonmalignant pain," something not addressed in the amendment, as "pain that is caused by a debilitating medical condition or that originates from a debilitating medical condition and persists beyond the usual course of that debilitating medical condition."

"There is a question about how we handle generalized chronic pain. This clarifies that," Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told The News Service of Florida on Thursday.

Under current law, doctors must complete eight hours of training before they can register patients for marijuana treatment. Bradley's plan would cut the required training from eight to four hours.

Bradley's bill would also allow the state's seven dispensing organizations - currently licensed to grow, process and dispense non-euphoric marijuana for patients with epilepsy or cancer, and full-strength marijuana for terminally ill patients - to operate as "medical marijuana treatment centers" defined in the Constitution.

Under current law, health officials must authorize three new marijuana operator licenses --- including one license for a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association --- once 250,000 patients are registered in the state's "compassionate use" database.

Bradley's proposal also would require a member of the black farmers' association to receive one of the highly sought-after licenses.

Under his plan, health officials would have to grant five more "medical marijuana treatment center" licenses once 250,000 patients are registered in the database; five more when that number reaches 350,000; another five after 400,000 patients are registered; and five more when the number reaches 500,000. His plan also would require five more licenses each time 100,000 more patients are registered after that.

"I don't think it's a significant enough expansion of licenses, nor a quick enough one to serve what's going to be a quickly growing patient base," Pollara said. "It's not a perfect piece of legislation, but I think it's a good start considering it's the first bill released in either chamber."

The number of licenses has been a thorny issue for the marijuana industry, but operators who currently have licenses aren't complaining about the expansion included in Bradley's bill.

"It appears at first blush he's found a way to implement the will of the voters while balancing the needs of patient access and protecting patient safety," Steve Vancore, who represents several licensed medical marijuana operators, said. 

Read the article here:


ORLANDO WEEKLY: Florida medical marijuana proponents blast proposed state rules

By Dara Kam - Authors of Florida's voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana are blasting proposed rules to regulate the cannabis industry.

The proposed rules, released Tuesday by state health officials, would essentially maintain current vendors' stranglehold on the medical marijuana industry —- poised to become one of the nation's top money-makers —- by applying current Florida laws and rules to the constitutional amendment approved in November.

"The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way," Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.

While medical marijuana was already a legal treatment for terminally ill patients in Florida, Amendment 2 authorized marijuana for a much broader swath of patients. More than 70 percent of voters supported the amendment, after a similar proposal narrowly failed to capture the requisite 60 percent approval two years earlier.

But applying current regulations to Amendment 2 —- which includes specific requirements for how the amendment should be implemented —- is wrong, Pollara insisted.

Of special concern to the amendment's authors, the proposed rule would give authority to the Florida Board of Medicine —- and not individual doctors —- to decide which patients qualify for the marijuana treatment.

The amendment allows doctors to order medical marijuana as a treatment for patients with cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, post-traumatic stress disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease or multiple sclerosis.

The ballot language gives doctors the power to order marijuana for "other debilitating medical conditions of the same kind or class as or comparable to those enumerated, and for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."

In contrast, the proposed rule would limit the unspecified conditions to those "determined by the Florida Board of Medicine," something Pollara called the regulation's "single most problematic" component.

"This is not one of those things that is up for interpretation by a court or anyone else," Pollara said.

Among other issues, the proposed rule would maintain the state's current cap on marijuana vendors, limited now to seven licensed "dispensing organizations," to treat an estimated 500,000 patients who would be eligible under Amendment 2.

While the proposed language may be amenable to the handful of operators already doing business in the state, the plan is anathema to those hoping to gain entree into Florida under Amendment 2's expansion of the industry.

"It looks like the Department of Health is protecting the existing monopolies. I hope the Legislature chooses to act in creating a free market system. The Legislature has a chance to change that," said Ron Watson, a lobbyist who represents AltMed, a Sarasota-based company founded by former pharmaceutical industry executives who have obtained a medical marijuana license in Arizona and are seeking one in Florida.

The health department will hold public hearings to take input on the rule during the second week of February, with meetings in Jacksonville, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando and Tallahassee.

Department of Health spokeswoman Mara Gambineri said state officials "look forward to receiving input from all interested stakeholders" about the proposed rule.

"That's why we're having the five public meetings," supplemented by the ability to provide comments online, she said.

"We look forward to everybody's contributions," Gambineri said.

Sen. Rob Bradley, who shepherded the state's medical-marijuana laws during the 2014 and 2016 legislative sessions, said he intends to release a new measure as early as this week.

"I interpret the actions today from the department as a beginning point, a foundation from which to build the medical cannabis system that we're going to have in the state of Florida," Bradley, R-Fleming Island, told The News Service of Florida. "I would caution everyone not to overreact to the actions of the department. You have to start somewhere."

Amendment 2 may have forced health officials to move forward with a proposed rule before the Legislature weighs in. It gives health officials until July 3 to finalize regulations to implement the constitutional change.

"That's the law. We have to follow the law," Gambineri said.

Read the article here:


FLORIDA POLITICS: DOH begins Amendment 2 rule-making

By Jenna Buzzacco-Foerster - More patients might be eligible for medical marijuana under Amendment 2, but a preliminary draft of new rules doesn’t appear to allow for immediate growth in the industry to meet demand.

On Tuesday, the Florida Department of Health released the preliminary text of proposed rule development. The release comes ahead of five public hearings schedule for early next month, giving Floridians a chance to weigh in on the agency’s rules and regulations governing the state’s medical marijuana program.

But the update appears to do little to establish new rules, instead creating a system that could bring new patients into the state’s existing medical pot program.

“Any proposal which seeks to mold the spirit of Amendment 2 into the narrow and flawed law on the books today should be rejected, and a more comprehensive strategy must take priority. The people of Florida overwhelmingly voted for a new direction in medical marijuana, and we must heed the will of the voters,” said Sen. Jeff Brandes, a St. Petersburg Republican. “I will support no bill, nor any rule, that maintains the established state sanctioned cartel system we have today, and I urge my colleagues to join me in proposing a free market solution for Florida.

Under the proposed rule, only patients with one of 10 specific medical conditions, like HIV/AIDs or cancer, are eligible for medical marijuana. The rule does allow for use, as long as the Florida Board of Medicine identifies which debilitating conditions it can be used for.

That’s contrary to the ballot language, which allowed physicians to order medical marijuana for a patient for if they believe “the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

“The proposed rule issued today by the Florida Department of Health (DOH) stands in direct contradiction with Article X, Section 29 of the Florida Constitution, the expressed intent of the authors of that section, and the will of the overwhelming majority of voters who approved the amendment,” said Ben Pollara, the campaign manager for the United for Care campaign. “If DOH’s rule is implemented as written, it will be in clear violation of Florida law.”

The proposed rule also requires patients, physicians, medical marijuana treatment centers and caregivers to be registered in state’s online Compassionate Use Registry; and requires medical marijuana treatment centers to follow the same record keeping, security, product testing, and other safety standards currently spelled out in state law and rules.

“I believe the Department is being appropriately cautious and awaiting the Legislature’s direction,” said Taylor Patrick Biehl, a lobbyist at Capitol Alliance Group who represents the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida. “The eligible patient population grows significantly under Amendment 2 — potentially tenfold. I’m confident that both the Department and the Legislature recognize the need to create affordable, safe and accessible medicine to the deserving patients.”

The preliminary rule also states all medical marijuana treatment centers, which under new rules would be the same as a dispensing organization, must go through the same “approval and selection process” outlined in existing law. Those organizations are also “subject to the same limitations and operational requirements” currently outlined in state law.

That rule means the seven nurseries currently authorized to grow, process and sell medical marijuana will have the corner on the market. Those nurseries are already growing the low THC cannabis authorized under a 2014 state law.

There is potential for more dispensing organizations to come online in the future, but not until 250,000 qualified patients register with the compassionate use registry.

The ballot initiative gives the Department of Health six months after the amendment goes into effect to write the rules governing medical marijuana. The amendment went into effect Jan. 3.

“The legislature has demonstrated a willingness and desire to implement this amendment in a reasonable manner that respects the plain language of the constitution, and reflects the mandate of the electorate,” said Pollara. “Why DOH would choose to engage in a policymaking exercise which ignores both the law and the role of the legislature in implementing the law is a mystery. Perhaps the actions of DOH shouldn’t surprise, given their history of incompetence in the administration of Florida’s medical marijuana laws.”

A spokeswoman for the health department said in an email to that the agency “initiated the rulemaking process as directed by Amendment 2.” She went on to say the state agency looks forward to “receiving input from all interested stakeholders through the open and transparent rulemaking process.”

The Legislature has indicated it will tackle Amendment 2 during the 2017 Legislative Session. Majority Leader Ray Rodrigues, an Estero Republican, is expected to carry the medical marijuana bill in the House. And last week, the House Health Quality subcommittee held a two-hour meeting where experts, including Christian Bax with the Office of Compassionate Use, participated in a panel discussion on the implementation.

The workshops are open to the public, and anyone can comment. The meetings will be held:

— 2 p.m. on Feb. 6 at the Duval County Health Department, 900 University Blvd. North in Jacksonville

— 10 a.m. on Feb. 7 at Broward County Health Department, 780 SW 24th Street in Fort Lauderdale

— 9 a.m. on Feb. 8 at the Florida Department of Health, Tampa Branch Laboratory, 3602 Spectrum Blvd.

— 6 p.m. on Feb. 8 at the Orange County Health Department, 6102 Lake Ellenor Drive in Orlando; and

— 4 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Betty Easley Conference Center, 4075 Esplanade Way, Room 148 in Tallahassee.

Those who can’t attend in person, can offer public comment on the Department of Health website.

Read the article here:


Amendment 2 Passes!

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.

Mission accomplished.

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.

Two. BELIEVE!!!!!!!

Tonight, I also have two messages for you.

Compassion is HERE!!!!

And, I will always deliver this message:


-John Morgan
Yes on 2


Medical Marijuana Campaign Publishes List of Supporting Medical Professionals


(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."

Mr. Pollara continued, "It is also the opinion of virtually all of the editorial boards of major Florida newspapers, and of the Florida legislature, which has passed two laws clearly acknowledging marijuana as medicine."

The full list of medical professionals is below. 

  1. Andrew E. Hano, DO., St Petersburg, Hematology-oncology
  2. Anthony J. Hall, MDCM, FACS, FAANS., Lauderhill, neurological surgery
  3. Richard Sabates, Delray Beach, Family medicine and pain management
  4. Jose Foradada, Tampa, Pediatric Neurology Specialist
  5. David Duncan, Cape Coral, Paramedic
  6. Jose A. Colindres, Broward/Palm Beach County, Pediatrician and Neonatologist
  7. Abner Martin Landry III, Largo, MD, FACR, Interventional Pain Specialist
  8. Jeffrey Kamlet, MD., Miami, Addiction Specialist
  9. Bernard Cantor, MD., Weston, Gynecology and Obstetrics (retired)
  10. Selim Benbadis, Tampa, Neurologist and Neurosurgeon
  11. Gregory Gerdeman, PhD., St Pete, Biology and Pharmacology
  12. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, Tampa, Neurologist
  13. Anne Morgan, MD., Palm Beach Gardens, Family Medicine
  14. Clifford Selsky, Ph.D., MD., Orlando, Palliative Care Pediatrician and Pediatric Oncology and Hematology
  15. Jeffrey Milley, St. Pete Beach, Registered Pharmacist
  16. Joseph Rosado, MD., Sanford, Primary Care Physician
  17. Kathryn Limper, Tampa, RN BSN
  18. Sasha Parker, Fort Lauderdale, Nurse
  19. Nicole Tracey, Fort Myers, RN OCN
  20. John H. Merey, MD., West Palm Beach, Ophthalmologist
  21. Ray Bellamy, MD., Tallahassee, Orthopedic Surgeon
  22. Carol L. Roberts, MD., Tampa, Integrative Medicine ABIHM
  23. Stephen Blythe, Melbourne, Family Physician
  24. Kathryn Lotspeich Villano, MD., Miami, Internal Medicine (retired)
  25. Jason Sturtsman,Vero Beach, B.A.E., Ed.S., School Psychologist
  26. César Rexach, Kissimmee, RN, MSN., Health Care Education
  27. Silvia Betancor, MD., Miami, Internal medicine
  28. Brenda Valdez, Live Oak, RN, Home Health
  29. Luis Galano-Lavin, Palm Coast, Family Medicine/Urgent Care
  30. Maria McConchie, Fort Lauderdale, Nurse Anesthetist
  31. Debbie Johnson, Orlando, RN, CHPN, Hospice and Palliative Care Nurse, Education
  32. Caroline Faxas, Hallandale, Board Certified Acupuncture Physician, Herbalist
  33. Tracy Christian, Palm Beach, Compounding Pharmacist, Pharmacy Owner
  34. Robert H Dudley, MD., Delray Beach, palliative and hospice care
  35. Ike Okeke, Tampa, Pharmacist
  36. Tammy Lettieri, Deerfield Beach,Physical Therapist
  37. Jonathan King, Jacksonville,RN
  38. Michelle Weiner, DO, MPH., Hollywood, Interventional Pain management / physical medicine and rehabilitation
  39. Megan King, Jacksonville ,RN
  40. Lisa Otero, Altamonte Springs , RN,
  41. Jeanne DeSilver, Jacksonville ,RN Retired,
  42. David Berger, MD., FAAP., Pediatrician, Owner and Medical Director, Wholistic Pediatrics and Family Care
  43. Elsie Eten, Safety Harbor, RN Retired,
  44. Linda Claassen, Deland, Hospice RN,
  45. Michael Bean, Melbourne, RN, CEN,
  46. Michelle Lynn Collier, RPh., Winter Garden, Clinical pharmacist
  47. Michael Dziubek, Sarasota, RN
  48. Terri P. Kelly, Tarpon Springs, RN, Oncology Research Auditor
  49. James F. Jones, Amelia Island, Acupuncture Physician
  50. Diane Loo, Miami, RN, Certified Wound Care Nurse
  51. Dennis Howard, Venice, Retired RN 03’, Critical Care Nurse
  52. Shannon Perez, Coral Gables, RN, Critical Care Nurse
  53. Marty Landy, Largo, MD FACR
  54. Patrick Criss, Kennesaw, GA., D.C., B.S. (Licensed In Florida and Georgia)
  55. Richard Bolin, Eustis, ER RN
  56. Anthony M. Walker, Hollywood, R.N.
  57. Don Vliegenthart, Melbourne, Nonoperative Orthopedics and Pain Management
  58. Clyde Pence, Pensacola, Nephrologist
  59. Robert V. Siegel, Fort Walton Beach ,General Physician
  60. Kathaleen Davis, Ft. Myers, Psychiatric Nurse, Certified Hospice and Wound Care
  61. Leonarda Duran,MD, Miami, Psychotherapist, Hypnotherapist
  62. J.D. Gold, PhD., Summerfield, Clinical Psychologist
  63. Scott Nations, Largo, Registered ER Nurse
  64. Elizabeth Kostelnick, Crystal River, RN
  65. Geena Palank, Stuart,  RN BSN
  66. Michelle Backus, Sebring, RN
  67. Sasha Parker, Fort Lauderdale, RN/Educational Director Esthetic Skin Institute
  68. Liva Jacobs, Miami, RN
  69. Joy S. Graham, MD., Palm Beach Gardens, Anesthesiologist
  70. Alisa Fuller, Orlanda, RN BSN
  71. Maria Medina Capote, MD., Miami, pediatrician
  72. Jerry Capote, MD., Miami, pediatrician
  73. Shannon Carnley, Bartow, RN
  74. Justin Sellers, Orlando, Radiologic Technologist, CT Scan and MRI Certified
  75. Cesar Rexach, Kissimmee, Retired RN MSN
  76. Andrew Margileth, Miami, Pediatric Dermatologist
  77. Charles Montgomery, Lakeland, RN
  78. Steven Bowman, Clearwater, MD of Internal Medicine
  79. Donna Lahey, Marathon, Clinical Laboratory Technologist
  80. Barry Apfel, Boca Raton, Registered pharmacist
  81. Jonathan Daitch, MD., Fort Myers, Pain management
  82. Rachel Bjornstad, Pensacola, Medical Technologist
  83. Nancy Barstow, Venice, RN
  84. Lawrence Schiffman, DO., FAOCD., Doral, dermatology
  85. John W. Pate, Fountain ,RN
  86. Tina McBride, Punta Gorda, RN
  87. Jim Funk, Gainesville, ARNP (retired)
  88. Andrew Sutherland, Orlando, Doctor of Chiropractics
  89. Pam Pirraglia, RN, CCM, CDMS; Nurse Case Manager
  90. Purvin Shah, DO, Jacksonville, Internal Medicine, Pulmonary Medicine & Critical Care Medicine
  91. Stephanie Smithgall, Callahan, RN
  92. Cyndi Christine, Port Orange, RN (retired)
  93. Yolanda C. Leon, Psy.D., ABPdN - Tampa/Gainesville,  Neuropsychologist, Clinical Psychologist, School Psychologist, Pediatric Neuropsychology
  94. Justin Davis, M.D., Gainesville, Family practice, alternative and integrative medicine
  95. Tricia Gibbs, Sarasota, Medical assistant
  96. Eyad Alsabbag, M.D., Brooksville, Pain management
  97. Bill Hadley, Tampa, RN
  98. Valerie Pasqualini, Del ray, RN and risk manager
  99. Peter A. Radice, MD, FACP, FAAHPM., Tampa, Supportive Oncology, Palliative Care
  100. Michael Uphues, DO, Naples, Family medicine
  101. Linda Colindres, St. Pete, RN
  102. Bruce Alperstein, MD., Milton, internal medicine

Editorial Support Grows for Amendment 2

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

EMAIL: [email protected] 

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:

Yes in 2016, but opposed in 2014:
Bradenton Herald
Ft Myers News Press
Florida Times Union

Yes in 2014 and 2016:
Sun Sentinel
Sarasota Herald Tribune
Tallahassee Democrat
Gainesville Sun
Ocala Star Banner


Medical Marijuana Amendment Polling Near 80%


Statewide poll of 1,000 likely voters shows 77%-20% in favor of Amendment 2

(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 [email protected].

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.


Legal Sales of Medical Marijuana Begin!

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.

Please support this effort. Mel Sembler just put in another $500,000 against us.  Can you make a contribution for $25, $50, $100, $250 or more here?

Thank you. 

- Ben Pollara

United for Care


Medical Marijuana Campaign Manager, Ben Pollara, Comments on Medical Marijuana Legislation

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."


FL Voters Favoring Medical Marijuana Amendment at 65%

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.




About Us.

Florida for Care was founded in 2014 to advocate for the implementation of a strong, well-regulated, Florida medical marijuana system under Amendment 2.

Contact Us.

  • Address:
         Florida for Care
         3921 Alton Rd. Suite 272
         Miami Beach, FL 33140
  • Phone: (850) 364-4868
Press Inquiries: