FLDecides.org by Florida CAN

 

 Florida Cannabis Action Network

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Advocacy, Education, Consumer Services & Community Building since 1998

 

Partnering with Florida CAN for the 2016 legislative session and beyond-

The Florida Legislature met from January 12, 2016 until March 11, 2016. Our goals for the session included:

·         Continuing to give voice to affected communities including patients, veterans, and parents of teens using cannabis      through direct legislative contact;

·         Shepherding bills through the committee process and be available to speak on behalf of consumers at committee hearings;

·         Introducing amendments to expand conditions and business access to several of the cannabis bills we expect to move;

·         Halting HB 161 by Rep. Dave Kerner, a bill to introduce a nano-gram limit for driving or boating under the influence;

·         Increasing the number of lawmakers who understand cannabis as a first option, not a last resort;

·         Expanding our reputation among leadership as the name to trust in cannabis information.

This was the fifth year the Florida Cannabis Action Network team was in Tallahassee full-time throughout the session. We’ve built great relationships with lawmakers, we are trusted as a source by the media and our technical capacity allows us to engage our online supporters in the process. Each year FLCAN subscribers send thousands of letters to lawmakers in support or opposition to proposed bills.

Our efforts to educate the community of lawmakers is the key to good cannabis policies being enacted. You have to understand the relationship between the human body and the plant to fully appreciate the role of cannabis/hemp in our lives. Lawmakers in Tallahassee now know they have an endocannabinoid system thanks to our education program. Lawmakers know research supports its medical use. We believe it is important for FLCAN to be in Tallahassee talking about cannabis as a first option, not a last resort, and not just for the sickest of the sick.

Each year FLCAN staff, board and supporters spend more than $20,000 cash and in-kind in Tallahassee. We rent a three-bedroom garden apartment – handicapped accessible to serve as a base of operations. We count heads in beds, nights when someone is staying in the apartment. Heads in beds means an affected person is in Tallahassee using a bed (or couch) in the apartment and spending the day meeting with lawmakers. The price of hotels sky-rocket during session, even cheap hotels are nearly $100 a night. In March 2015, we made space for 60 heads in beds in just one month. Considering the legislature only really work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, we plan carefully to ensure we are maximizing the use of the apartment.

In 2015, we raised and spent $14,558.18 in direct support for our legislative work between January and March. This figure does not include the in-kind travel money spent by our directors and frequent visitors to the apartment, or many of the supplies donated for use during the campaign. The income came from donations ranging from $3000 from John Chase of Pinellas Co to $5.00 from half a dozen recurring donors.

Our total budget for the 2016 legislative session was $18,550.

Rent and Utilities                  9900
Supplies                               1500
Deposits                               300
Fees                                     200
Travel                                  2550
Cannabis Day                      2000
Lobby Day                           1300
Printing                                 800

When Representative Matt Gaetz introduced the subject of exempting cannabis medicine from the controlled substance act in the House Criminal Justice committee in January 2014, he said although it was more than 100 years since the end of alcohol prohibition, every year the legislature discusses alcohol reforms. He expects cannabis policy to be the same.

FLCAN knows that by maintaining our presence in Tallahassee and expanding our impact, we can speed up the process of getting quality cannabis into the hands of the public. We promote five reasons to legalize cannabis – Improve lives, increase public safety, open doors for research, save tax-payers money and bring the current cannabis economy into the sunshine.

Our Cannabis Day, scheduled on January 20, 2016 was a celebration of all things cannabis and visually projected our five reasons for legalization. We reserved the second floor rotunda at the state capitol for 70-foot worth of displays on all things cannabis. From the art of the cannabis culture to the products of the hemp industry, we show lawmakers and visitors to the Capitol the many reasons cannabis should be a legal product and available to everyone for their health and well-being.                

Please contact Florida CAN at 321-253-3673 for more information or to make an angel donation to fund the next legislative session. Even before the session formally begins, Florida Cannabis Action Network has work to do.

If you’d like to make a tax-deductible donation to a portion of our educational our work, our partner United for Compassion is available to act as our fiscal sponsor. Make tax-deductible checks out to United for Compassion and mail them to 1375 Cypress Ave, Melbourne, FL 32935 Attention: Mandy Pritchett.

 

 

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