TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Nov. 8, 2016) – Voters in Florida have approved a ballot measure legalizing medical marijuana, taking a big step toward nullifying the unconstitutional federal prohibition of cannabis in effect.
With passage of Amendment 2, qualifying patients in Florida will be able to access marijuana for medical use.
With 7.5 millions votes counted, of the precincts reporting, approval of the measure has been declared the winner by a 71-29 margin.
With 7.5 million votes counted, Amendment 2 legalizing medical marijuana appears on its way to passing with almost 71 percent.
— Tampa Bay Times (@TB_Times) November 9, 2016
Amendment 2 alters the Florida state constitution to permit the usage of medical marijuana for patients suffering from “cancer, epilepsy, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, or 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.”
Florida was one of eight states with measures on the ballot to to legalize marijuana for either for medical or general adult use today. This is the largest number of states that have considered nullifying marijuana prohibition in a single election cycle.
EFFECT ON FEDERAL PROHIBITION
Legalization of medical marijuana in Florida removes one major layer of laws prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana.
While Florida law will not alter federal law, it takes a step toward nullifying the federal ban in practice and effect. FBI statistics show that law enforcement makes approximately 99 of 100 marijuana arrests under state, not federal law. By easing state prohibition, Florida essentially sweeps away part of the basis for 99 percent of marijuana arrests.
Of course, the federal government lacks any constitutional authority to ban or regulate marijuana within the borders of a state, despite the opinion of the politically connected lawyers on the Supreme Court. If you doubt this, ask yourself why it took a constitutional amendment to institute federal alcohol prohibition.
Furthermore, figures indicate it would take 40 percent of the DEA’s yearly-budget just to investigate and raid all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles – a single city in a single state. That doesn’t include the cost of prosecution. The lesson? The feds lack the resources to enforce marijuana prohibition without state assistance.
Florida, as the first state in the Southeast to do so, joins a growing number of states simply ignoring federal prohibition. Colorado, Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have all legalized both recreational and medical marijuana, and more than two-dozen states now allow cannabis for medical use. With half the country legalizing marijuana, the feds find themselves in a position where they simply can’t enforce prohibition any more. The feds need state cooperation to fight the “drug war,” and that has rapidly evaporated in the last few years with state legalization, practically nullifying the ban.
“The lesson here is pretty straight forward. When enough people say, ‘No!’ to the federal government, and enough states pass laws backing those people up, there’s not much the feds can do to shove their so-called laws, regulations or mandates down our throats,” Tenth Amendment Center founder and executive director Michael Boldin said.