Opponents of the language in Amendment 2 won a somewhat surprising victory by convincing enough voters that the medical marijuana measure contained lax provisions open to abuse. Early polls showed convincing passage at around 70 percent, far more than the 60 percent required to amend Florida's constitution.
But with only 57 percent of the vote, the measure failed. Still, that should send a signal to the Legislature and governor that the majority of voters do indeed want the legalization of medicinal cannabis -- but with tighter restrictions that remove loopholes.
The issue will not disappear. Orlando attorney John Morgan, who spent $6.5 million to get Amendment 2 on the ballot and win passage, vows to keep the issue alive -- first by calling on legislators to pass a medical marijuana measure in 2015.
If lawmakers fail to heed the will of the majority, amendment proponents pledge to launch another ballot initiative in 2016. If that occurs, the measure should be free of language open to permissive interpretations.
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Oddly enough, medical marijuana is more popular than Gov. Rick Scott, with Amendment 2 winning
3,357,537 votes and the governor securing 2,859,199.
Our hopes of either the conservative Legislature or governor listening to this message are not high, however. We expect another citizen initiative in two years.
Amendment 1: Kudos to voters for taking control of state spending for conservation projects out of the hands of legislators who for years robbed the trust fund established for this purpose. Instead of the meager appropriations under the Legislature, Amendment 1 guarantees annual funding from the documentary stamp tax expected to amount to $700 million annually for two decades. The restoration, preservation and purchase of conservation and recreational lands will ensure a brighter future for Florida.
Amendment 3: Thank goodness voters didn't fall for this political trap set by the Legislature. This would have allowed an outgoing governor to appoint Supreme Court justices and some other judicial vacancies instead of the incoming chief executive as is now the case. These last-minute appointments would have destroyed accountability to voters.