The Florida Democratic Party has endorsed the 2016 medical marijuana initiative.
The state executive committee unanimously backed the resolution during Democratic County Chair Association retreat Saturday. The Florida Democratic Party unanimously supported the amendment in 2014.
In the resolution approved Saturday, the state party said: “there are hundreds of thousands of Floridians suffering from debilitating conditions.”
The resolution goes on to say those current state laws dealing with medical marijuana “fall shamefully short of providing adequate access to medical marijuana for sick and suffering patients.” Those laws, the state party said in the resolution, “provide zero access to medical marijuana for non-terminal patients suffering from severely debilitating conditions.”
“The Florida Democratic Party supports and endorses the 2016 iteration of proposed Amendment 2, ‘Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions,’ and the campaign to legalize medical marijuana for sick and suffering patients with debilitating medical conditions,” said the resolution.
The resolution then calls on the “Florida Legislature and the Department of Health to work quickly and diligently on behalf of sick patients to implement Amendment 2 if it passes with more than 60 percent support in the general election.”
Lawmakers in 2014 passed a law that would allow a small group of patients’ access to low-THC marijuana. But two years after the bill became law, patients still don’t have access to the product.
The support from the state Democratic Party is the latest in a series of groups coming out in support of the amendment.
In February, the Tallahassee Democrat endorsed the ballot initiative. In the Feb. 20 editorial, the newspaper said: “the potential benefits of the amendment outweigh its drawbacks.” The paper also supported the amendment in 2014.
The Tallahassee Democrat endorsement came just days after the Miami Herald and the Bradenton Herald both backed the proposal. The ballot initiative also has the backing of the Service Employees International Union of Florida (SEIU Florida.) The union represents more than 55,000 active and retired health care professionals.
The 2014 amendment received 58 percent support, just shy of the 60 percent needed to become law. The 2016 initiative will be on the November 2016 ballot.