A new organization called Florida For Care has formed to help shape medical marijuana regulations in Florida, should Amendment 2 be approved by voters this November. The group has filed forms with the IRS to become recognized as a 501(c)4 social welfare organization. 501(c)4 groups can maintain their status if less than 50% of their spending accounts for political activities. The Supreme Court of the United States has ruled that 501(c)4 groups do not have to disclose their donors.

501(c)4 Forms to Advocate for Amendment 2

John Morgan

John Morgan

When asked about the new 501(c)4 group and if donor anonymity helped increase financial support, John Morgan, an Orlando attorney and major backer of Amendment 2, was reported by the Orlando Sentinel as saying, “I don't know that it really is. I don't know that anybody really cares. I don't. There are probably some Republican lobbyists that want to be shaded, but I don't want to speak for them. ...They know it's going to be a whole new world for them, and they know it's going to happen.” The Orlando Sentinel also reported that Ben Pollara, campaign manager for People United said that the new organization would not be used to buy ads supporting Amendment 2, and that the money would instead go through the state political committee and be disclosed.

According to the group's website, “Florida For Care was founded in 2014 to advocate for the implementation of a strong, well-regulated, Florida medical marijuana system under Amendment 2.

Florida for Care believes that Florida has the opportunity to set the standard for what a state medical marijuana system should look like and how it can function most effectively. We believe such a system must balance three core principles: first, safe, affordable patient access; second, a tightly controlled state regulatory structure; and third, a robust, free market commercial enterprise.”

Blue Ribbon Commission Established

According to a press release from Florida For Care, the group has established a Blue Ribbon Commission made up of “legal experts, patient advocates, health experts, business leaders, and government representatives, including law enforcement, to provide research, expert opinions, and feedback on a wide range of medical marijuana issues. Its purpose is to help formulate a medical marijuana “Gold Standard” for Florida.” Florida For Care | Marijuana Policy Think TankFlorida For Care intends their Blue Ribbon Commission to serve as a resource for policy makers and their staff as they seek to develop and support medical marijuana policies. Its recommendations will be the basis for legislation the group intends to help spearhead, hoping to set the standard for state medical marijuana programs. “This commission will provide a detailed and careful plan to make medical marijuana available to Floridians in need” said Jon Mills, a former Speaker of the Florida House of Representatives and Chairman of the Commission. “The citizens in over 20 states have this option for care. If the voters support this option, we want to provide a thorough analysis of the best policies to make compassionate care available to our families and fellow citizens.” Mills publicly backs Amendment 2.

Vice Chair of Commission Opposes Amendment 2

Alex Diaz De La Portilla

Former Senator Alex Diaz De La Portilla (R) who opposes Amendment 2, is Vice Chair of Florida For Care

The Vice Chair of the Commission, former state Senator Alex Diaz de la Portilla, is publicly opposed to the passage of Amendment 2. The former state Senator was quoted in the release as saying, “The purpose is not to reinvent the wheel, it’s to ensure that our wheel is highly functional, efficient and protected from the hazards that could emerge without expert preparation, appropriate safeguards and highly regulated for use only by the people, who are defined by a physician as really needing it.” Florida For Care plans to hold several meetings across the state between now and November to educate the public and to be a resource for legislators developing medical cannabis policy. “At a time when both sides are getting big money backers, Florida For Care says it's all about making sure things are properly regulated. That's why members for both sides of the issue are heavily involved,” a statement on the group's website said. Florida For Care's Executive Director, Dan Rogers, told the Broward Palm Beach New Times that the group wants “to make sure the Blue Ribbon Committee sets up regulatory standards should Amendment 2 pass.” For more information on Florida For Care go to: www.floridaforcare.org