TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A proposed constitutional amendment to allow the medical use of marijuana will go before Florida voters in November after the state Supreme Court narrowly approved the ballot language Monday.
The 4-3 decision is a victory for personal injury lawyer John Morgan, who spent $4 million on a medical marijuana petition drive, and a defeat for Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi, who fought to keep the question off the ballot.
The decision comes three days after Morgan secured enough voter signatures to make the ballot. He made a massive push in December and January to beat the Feb. 1 deadline instead of waiting for the Supreme Court decision — a gamble that has now paid off.
“In our businesses, our cases are against the tobacco industries, pharmaceutical industries, big car companies, so we’re used to gambles, but we take calculated gambles,” Morgan said. “We like to win and we don’t just go down a rat hole unless we think we can win.”
Bondi said the matter is now up to voters.
“I encourage every Floridian to read the full amendment in order to understand the impact it could have on Floridians,” she said in a statement.
Gov. Rick Scott, who is the former CEO of the Columbia/HCA hospital chain, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz — all Republicans — backed Bondi’s effort to keep the question off the ballot.
“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,” Scott said. “But having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it. No matter my personal beliefs, however, a ballot initiative would be up to the voters to decide.”