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LGBT Support for Revised Amendment 2 in Florida

WILTON MANORS FLORIDA - JUNE 22 2013: Front Runners of Fort Lauderdale a local walking or running club marching at the crowded and colorful 12th annual Stonewall Summer Pride on Wilton Drive. ** Note: Visible grain at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Located just three miles north of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Wilton Manors has one of the highest percentages of same-sex couples in the country. When it came time to weigh in on the medical marijuana amendment in Florida in 2014, 72% of the population in this small city voted for it. Unfortunately, statewide it lost.

Two years later, Amendment 2 is back on the Florida ballot. The Wilton Manors City Commission, expecting it to pass, drafted an ordinance in July that creates guidelines for dispensaries. However, bowing down to the wishes of local police rather than listening to healthcare providers and businesspeople, the proposed regulations (local bans, no Sunday sales, stores must close by 6 p.m.) may be illegal or even unconstitutional.

This is a community that, due to its large gay population, has a higher rate of HIV. The commission should have passed an enlightened ordinance, not one for the dark ages.

From little villages on the ocean to big cities like Daytona Beach, Florida authorities are cracking down on marijuana sales before medical marijuana likely becomes legal. One little hamlet, Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, wants to ban sales outright. They can’t, especially if voters demand their right of access at the ballot box and beyond.

All across America, these battles are being played out as we move from an era of incarceration to incorporation. In towns, cities, counties and states that are in the process of creating rules and regulations that provide for the production and distribution of legal medical cannabis, NORML needs you to engage and educate your elected officials at every level, from regulatory agency rule-making committees to city commission meetings to state legislature hearings.

Politicians must understand that marijuana is a medicine and not a menace. We also need to ensure that pot is not over-regulated and taken over by greedy con artists. If marijuana means money, everyone ought to be able to share in the wealth—not just rich monopolies, but also small farmers. Cities should regulate dispensaries fairly, and protect cannabis consumers completely.

Cannabis is one of the most profitable, fastest-growing and helpful new industries in America. But it’s up to us to make sure it remains affordable and accessible, not restrictive and prohibitive. Beyond the upcoming November election, there is much you can do today to be a voice for cannabis tomorrow. Find a NORML chapter near you and get involved.

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