Courts: Health: Florida Supreme Court Approves Medical Marijuana Amendment for Ballot

Link: http://www.floridasupremecourt.org/pub_info/documents/sc13-2006.pdf

Supreme Court of Florida

No. SC13-2006

ADVISORY OPINION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL RE: USE OF MARIJUANA FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS.

No. SC13-2132

ADVISORY OPINION TO THE ATTORNEY GENERAL RE: USE OF MARIJUANA FOR CERTAIN MEDICAL CONDITIONS (FINANCIAL IMPACT STATEMENT).

[January 27, 2014]

“PER CURIAM.

The Attorney General of Florida has petitioned this Court for an advisory opinion as to the validity of a proposed citizen initiative amendment to the Florida Constitution, submitted by an organization called People United for Medical Marijuana (the ―proponent‖), and the corresponding Financial Impact Statement submitted by the Financial Impact Estimating Conference. We have jurisdiction. See art. IV, § 10; art. V, § 3(b)(10), Fla. Const.

Our review of the proposed amendment is confined to two issues: (1) whether the proposed amendment itself satisfies the single-subject requirement of article XI, section 3, of the Florida Constitution; and (2) whether the ballot title and summary satisfy the requirements of section 101.161(1), Florida Statutes (2013). See Advisory Op. to Att‘y Gen. re Water & Land Conservation—Dedicates Funds to Acquire & Restore Fla. Conservation & Recreation Lands, 123 So. 3d 47, 50 (Fla. 2013). For the reasons we explain, we conclude that the proposed amendment embraces a single subject, which is the medical use of marijuana, and therefore complies with article XI, section 3.

We also conclude that the ballot title and summary comply with section 101.161(1) because they are not clearly and conclusively defective. By reading the proposed amendment as a whole and construing the ballot title together with the ballot summary, we hold that the voters are given fair notice as to the chief purpose and scope of the proposed amendment, which is to allow a restricted use of marijuana for certain ―debilitating‖ medical conditions. We conclude that the voters will not be affirmatively misled regarding the purpose of the proposed amendment because the ballot title and summary accurately convey the limited use of marijuana, as determined by a licensed Florida physician, that would be authorized by the amendment consistent with its intent. The interpretation of the proposed amendment offered by the proponent that ―the intent is to allow [marijuana] use for a serious medical condition or disease,‖ rather than for any medical condition for which a physician personally believes that the benefits outweigh the health risks, is a reasonable one that is supported by accepted principles of constitutional interpretation.

Finally, we conclude that the accompanying Financial Impact Statement is in compliance with section 100.371(5), Florida Statutes (2013). We therefore approve the proposed amendment and Financial Impact Statement for placement on the ballot. We express no opinion as to the merits of the proposal…”

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