Florida for Care conference goers told to stay focused – marijuana is not going to legalize itself

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Florida for Care is trying to jumpstart a renewed effort to change medicinal marijuana regulations. The Orlando-based organization formed earlier this year to advocate for a well-regulated medicinal marijuana industry under Amendment 2, which failed in November.

Two weeks after the initiative to allow doctors to use the marijuana plant to treat patients was snuffed out, Florida for Care began organizing a two-day strategy session on how to move forward. The Miami conference concluded Wednesday and featured updates on legislative issues and break-out sessions on business matters including local government relations.

The conference keynote speaker was Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a New York  based organization working to reform drug laws. Nadelmann told the nearly 80 attendees to continue the effort to change marijuana policies.

“Marijuana is not going to legalize itself,” Nadelmann said he told his audience. “Those who most want marijuana prohibition to end need to stay focused, not get over-confident, and become ever more strategic and effective in our advocacy for reform.”

Ben Pollara who served as United for Care’s spokesman for Amendment 2 reviewed the campaign. And one of the break-out sessions focused on “lessons learned.”

“It’s no secret that if they (legislators), coupled with the stakeholder and advocate, cannot find consensus this coming session, a measure will be back on the ballot in 2016,” said Taylor Patrick Biehl of the Medical Marijuana Business Association of Florida. “Watch for a new petition roll-out and signature gathering beginning in January.”