MMJ Supporters Plan Rally in Tallahassee
For Florida cannabis supporters, the 2014 election was a bittersweet moment. An overwhelming 58 percent of Floridians voted to legalize medical marijuana, but sadly it was not enough. Because Amendment 2 was a constitutional amendment, it required 60 percent of the vote.
Despite this disappointing defeat, marijuana advocates remain undeterred and plan to pressure the state legislature to expand the state’s extremely limited medical marijuana program. Most recently, medical marijuana advocates have announced plans to hold a rally in support for medical marijuana in Florida.
On February 10, 2015, The Silver Tour, a senior citizen cannabis outreach group, in conjunction with Florida NORML and a bevy of other cannabis groups, plan on staging a medical marijuana support rally in the state capital of Tallahassee.
Known as the “Grand Rally in Tally,” the rally hopes to leverage Amendment 2’s high support into legislative change; depending on the turnout, that change may happen. The rally is planned to coincide with the introduction of a comprehensive medical marijuana bill to the state legislature by state Sen. Jeff Clemens.
Clemens has be an outspoken support of medical marijuana and has introduced legislation to legalize medical marijuana multiple times, first in 2011 and then again in 2014. Clemens has also been a vocal critic of the bill which legalized a single strand of CBD-only medical marijuana, Charlotte’s Web.
Back in August Clemens spoke with The Politics of Pot about medical marijuana in Florida. “The truth of the matter is that we’re behind the times” said Clemens. “There are 22 states already ahead of us. The good news is that gives us some great roadmaps and unfortunately we don’t seem to be following them.”
The Silver Tour and Florida NORML are not the only groups marshaling medical marijuana supporters in hopes of lobbying the legislature. Earlier this month, United For Care hosted a two-day conference in Miami to inform supporters and to strategize lobbying efforts for upcoming legislative sessions.
At the conference, keynote speaker Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, urged attendees to not grow complacent despite recent gains. “Marijuana is not going to legalize itself,” Nadelmann said. “Those who most want marijuana prohibition to end need to stay focused, not get over-confident.”
Indeed, while medical marijuana in Florida enjoys wide support, 2015 still stands to be an uphill battle for patients and advocates. Supporters will still be facing the same legislature that has routinely shot down and butchered medical marijuana bills time and time again; and one should not expect a different outcome this time.
In order for the legislature to pass cannabis reform, they need to see the support outside their windows and not just on their computer screen. Upcoming events like the Grand Rally in Tally stand to make that visual statement.
As the third largest state in the union, Florida stands to make billions of dollars from medical marijuana and they are so close to opening the flood gates of free enterprise. Keep an eye on Florida in the coming months because anything is possible.
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