Voters Reject Malpractice Cap Hike, Medical Marijuana

Ballot measures designed to increase malpractice payouts in California and allow medical marijuana in Florida failed Tuesday, though the latter had strong support.

Ballot measures designed to increase malpractice payouts in California and allow medical marijuana in Florida failed Tuesday, though the latter had strong support.

California’s Proposition 46 included a number of items — such as random drug tests for physicians and a mandate that doctors use a prescription drug database – but its core was a proposal to raise the limit on pain and suffering awards in medical malpractice cases from $250,000 to $1.1 million.

Proponents noted that the limit hasn’t been changed in 39 years, and argued that inflation has caused the $250,000 limit to become grossly inadequate.

Voters were unconvinced. The measure failed by a wide margin, with 67% voting against the measure.

In a Facebook post, Dustin Corcoran, chairman of the No on 46 campaign, said voters saw through what he characterized as an attempt by trial lawyers to increase their paydays.

“Californians rejected Proposition 46 because increasing payouts in medical lawsuits would have increased healthcare costs and reduced access to needed medical care,” he wrote. “The voters declared a political ‘no-fly zone’ around making it easier and more profitable for trial lawyers to file more lawsuits.”

Meanwhile, in Florida, voters were asked to consider whether Florida should become the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana. The question came in the form of a constitutional amendment, dubbed Amendment 2. It needed 60% to pass, but came up just shy, with 57.6% of the vote.

John Morgan, chairman of the pro-medical marijuana group, United For Care, released a statement emphasizing the fact that more than half of Florida voters voted in favor of medical marijuana, and noting that the 57% mark is a higher support level than the winners of the past 6 gubernatorial elections received.

He vowed that the fight for medical marijuana would continue, with a new effort to get the state legislature to enact a medical marijuana law.

“Tallahassee politicians can ignore polls and ignore activists,” he said. “They cannot ignore a clear majority of Florida voters. We will not be ignored.”