Florida for Care organizing two-day conference to prep marijuana advocates for legislative session

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About 100 medical marijuana advocates will gather in Miami next week and plan their next step. The two day meeting to discuss regulatory issues comes in the wake of the failure of Amendment 2 at the polls and while the state struggles to implement a Charlotte’s Web law.

Florida for Care, an Orlando-based group which formed to advocate for a well-regulated medicinal marijuana industry under Amendment 2, is producing a two-day strategy session at the Intercontinental Hotel starting Dec. 16

The event will include a series of regulatory briefings on the state of medicinal marijuana and Florida. Ben Pollara, who headed the United for Care campaign to pass Amendment 2 said the meeting is to plan for the 2015 Florida Legislative Session.

“We are going to ask members to let us know how they would like to engage directly moving forward. I.e. Raising money, recruiting new members, developing policy proposals, lobbying specific members of the legislature, etc” said Pollara.

The conference’s  keynote speaker will be delivered by Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group advocating for an end to the federal prohibition on marijuana.

The keynote speaker will be Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a group advocating for an end to the federal prohibition on marijuana.

“Marijuana legalization and broader drug policy reform have moved from the fringes to the mainstream of U.S. and international politics,” Nadelmann wrote after the New York Times accepted a marijuana advertisement from the group congratulating the voters of Colorado and Washington for legalizing possession of the plant.

Nadelmann argues that the public supports a change in marijuana policy not because it is pro-pot but because it is pro-common sense.

“They are convinced that arresting 750,000 people each year for possessing a small amount of marijuana is costly, cruel and unjust,” Nadelmann wrote in a USA Today column.  “And they rightfully believe that young people will fare better with responsible regulations rather than ineffective prohibitions.”

A release for the Florida for Care conference said the agenda includes discussion of upcoming medical marijuana bills and a new petition by United for Care if the Florida legislature fails to act.

No marijuana bill has yet to be filed for the 2015 Legislative Session. State regulators are working to develop a regulatory framework for implementing a limited-medicinal marijuana law approved in 2014. A proposed rule was thrown out when challenged by eligible applicants for the five licenses lawmakers authorized to grow a low-THC strain of marijuana.

If the legal wrangling is not resolved by the March start of the Session, the Senate sponsor of the Compassionate Medical Cannabis Act of 2014 said he expects there will be a legislative fix.