Comments from a paid Florida Constitutional Amendment petitioner
First of all, let me explain what a Constitutional Amendment petition is all about.
A Constitutional Amendment petition is a way to allow an amendment to the Florida Constitution to be placed on the ballot to be voted on.
Such an amendment could be to allow a portion of the existing excise tax on documents already being collected to be allocated back to its original Land Acquisition Trust Fund such, as this recent one titled - BALLOT TITLE: Water and Land Conservation - Dedicates funds to acquire and restore Florida conservation and recreation lands; or this more controversial Constitutional Amendment titled - BALLOT TITLE: Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.
I'm sure over the past year, you have seen one or more petitioners on the street or at special events trying to get your signature on one of these ballot petitions.
These petitioners were either highly dedicated volunteers or paid petitioners, seeking a source of income or additional income to help meet their living expenses and/or medical bills.
I was a 68-year-old paid petitioner in Brevard County. I needed the extra income to help meet my wife's medical bills (that were) not covered by our very good private medical insurance.
As a petitioner, I met some of the very best and worst people that Brevard County had to offer.
Even though both petitions were not political in nature, I encountered strong political comments pro and con, mostly con, and mostly involving the petition for Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.
Once again, let me state that a ballot petition is a means to allow you, as a valid Florida registered voter, to allow an amendment to the Florida Constitution to be placed on the ballot to be voted on. It does not always mean that the petitioner is for or against that amendment.
While presenting the petition for Use of Medical Marijuana for Certain Conditions, I was cursed, threatened, restricted accesses and had law enforcement show up to state someone had made a complaint I was harassing them.
All this occurred simply because they did not agree with what the petition was about, and all this occurred while I was protecting this person's right to choose with their vote.
Conversely, I met many more wonderful people, who chose to sign the petition, who either wanted to protect their right to choose or because they had experienced personal positive results using marijuana for medical reasons, involving a serious illness or relief from the horrible side effects from chemotherapy, involving themselves or family members or relief of pain and suffering of family members during their end of life, when all other available medications had failed.
A petitioner is not your enemy. We are there to allow you, as a registered Florida voter, to have your choice on an issue, FOR or AGAINST, when you see it on the ballot on voting day. The next time you see a petitioner, please treat us that way.
Norman L. Wiechnick, Port St. John