As I write this, preliminary election results are starting to trickle in. I don’t know about you, but I need a break from the deluge of political advertisements that we’ve seen in the last two months, whether it’s mail pieces, social media posts, or, my personal favorite, television commercials. It’s a good thing that I record most of the shows I watch on television or else I’d be selling every TV in the house on Craigslist. It feels mighty satisfying to fast forward through the stream of political commercials between breaks in the latest episode of The Bachelor. Okay, I don’t watch The Bachelor, but my wife does and I may or may not be sitting on the couch with her while she’s watching. And I may or may not know who won the last three seasons – JoJo, you should’ve chosen Luke. I digress…
Now that the primaries are over, we should see a lull in the action before the campaign faucet gets turned back on. If they’ve survived the primary storm, candidates must now regroup and prepare for November. While most of the attention has been focused on the candidates running for office, it’s important to remember that there will be four Constitutional Amendments on the ballot in November. This may come as a surprise, but all will impact local government. The one that I anticipate generating the most conversation is Amendment 2, Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Medical Conditions. If you remember back to 2014, a similar amendment narrowly failed, but came within three percentage points of the 60% threshold. Well, John Morgan and the gang are back in 2016 for a shot at redemption.
Amendment 2 will allow the medical use of marijuana for people with certain debilitating medical conditions. This means that anyone with a “debilitating medical condition” can be prescribed marijuana if the physician determines that the patient could benefit from using the product. Many cities and counties have already seen dispensaries open as a result of legislation passed earlier this year allowing certain patients to be prescribed low-THC cannabis, or if the illness is terminal, the high test stuff. The proliferation of these facilities will only increase if Amendment 2 passes. In my best George H.W. Bush voice, “Read my lips: it will pass.”
The question that every manager should be asking is, “How do we prepare for this?” I’ve got great news for you, the Fall Symposium will be focused on the potential impact of medical marijuana on local governments in Florida. You’ll learn how medical cannabis (and recreational cannabis) has impacted cities and counties in other states. You’ll learn about the impacts on law enforcement and other service areas. You’ll come away with an understanding of what you need to be doing now to prepare your communities. The Symposium is October 20th at the Lake Eva Event Center in Haines City – I hope to see you there!