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Florida Initiative Petition 2002
Right to Treatment and Rehabilitation for Nonviolent Drug Offenders

Sponsor   Campaign for New Drug Policies


After its successful sponsorship of California’s Proposition 36 in 2000, the Soros group targeted 3 states east of the Mississippi – Michigan, Ohio, and Florida – in which to sponsor similar “treatment not jail” initiatives. Their reasons:

“'Politics is perception, and the perception up to this point is that voters want tougher and tougher drug policies,’ said Bill Zimmerman, executive director of the Campaign for New Drug Policies. ‘The votes we saw (Tuesday) night represent a sea change in that perception.’”

“‘It shows that the war on drugs is slowly being strangled and eventually the federal politicians are going to have to face up to their 20-year failure,’” added John Sperling, one of three men in the Soros group who finance these initiatives.

“Proponents say the campaign’s focus may shift to Middle America. ‘Michigan and Ohio are probably the places where you have the largest number of people affected, and you would send the loudest message,’ said Dave Fratello, campaign manager for the California initiative.”
(Quotations from: “Billionaires Push Drug Policy Program,” Honolulu Star-Bulletin, November 9, 2000.)



Provisions of this initiative include:

Anyone charged with or convicted of the purchase or possession of a controlled substance may elect treatment over incarceration

Treatment is defined as any state-approved treatment or rehabilitation program “designed to reduce or eliminate substance abuse or drug dependency”

Treatment must also provide access to vocational training, literacy training, family counseling, mental health services, or similar support services, when appropriate.

Treatment will be determine by a qualified treatment professional as defined in existing law

A person who violates treatment program rules may be transferred to a different program an unspecified number of times. That person may be removed from treatment only after an independent evaluation by a qualified professional. If the court finds the person unamenable to treatment, that person, if previously convicted, may be sentenced for the offense. If not yet convicted, the court may resume prosecution and upon conviction may give the person a criminal sentence.

Treatment ends when a person has successfully completed treatment or when a qualified professional finds the person’s treatment has been successful, or when 18 months have expired, whichever occurs first. The court may not prosecute, sentence, or place the person on probation for the original offense.

Exempted from these provisions are anyone charged with or convicted of a felony, a violent offense, or dealing or producing drugs.


Florida Campaign for New Drug Policies







Not on Ballot.

The Florida Supreme Court must review the wording of all petitions before proponents may begin collecting signatures. The state Attorney General makes recommendations for the review.

In this case, the Attorney General recommended against approving petition language because certain provisions violated citizens’ Constitutional rights. This triggered a hearing before the Supreme Court with both sides presenting arguments. While awaiting the Supreme Court’s decision, proponents withdrew their petition, stating even if the Court approved their proposed language, they would not have enough time to collect the required number of signatures to place the initiative on the ballot. The court handed down its decision later, approving the langauge, and proponents plan to re-introduce the petition drive in 2004.


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