Florida's Supreme Court To Hear Medical Marijuana Legalization Debate

Categories: Marijuana

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Looks like medical weed will finally have its day, as the Florida Supreme Court has set a date to hear arguments about whether a proposed constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana should be put on the ballot next November.

The arguments have been set for December 5.

Florida GOPers, for their part, are doing what they can to keep this thing from going forward.

On Wednesday, Florida House Speaker Will Weatheford, along with Senate President Don Gaetz, said they'll be filing a brief to the Supreme Court opposing the ballot initiative.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has already started the ball rolling to try and derail the initiative, saying that the wording on the petition originally sent to the Supreme Court to get a hearing was ambiguous, suggesting that there was more there than meets the eye. Basically, Bondi said that if the amendment is passed, doctors will be giving away free pot to anyone willy-nilly.

Gaetz sent a memo echoing Bondi's sentiments to all senators saying that "regardless of the subject matter or whether we personally support the proposed petition initiative, efforts to hide the ball or appeal to voters by using language that evokes emotional responses are not appropriate for ballot titles and summaries of proposed constitutional amendments. This is a lesson in checks and balances that the Legislature has, in recent years, often been reminded of the hard way."

In August, People United for Medical Marijuana set about to collect signatures to trigger a Florida Supreme Court review of the initiative's language. They even placed an ad on Craigslist to hire people to help get signatures.

The groups sent an email saying they've collected over 200,000 signatures so far.

In an email, Ben Pollara, the group's campaign manager, said that Bondi, Weatherford, and Gaetz are looking to do whatever it takes to derail the petition.

"They don't want to the public to know that in the twenty states-plus where medical marijuana is legal, society has not broken down," he says. "It has not caused crime to go up. It hasn't led to an epidemic of addiction. It has, however, helped people with cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, neurological diseases and injuries, epilepsy, MS and numerous other conditions. It's our job to tell voters the truth. We have a challenge ahead - but we have already made enormous, unprecedented progress."

The debate will surely grow from this point on. But this is as close as Florida has ever gotten to legalize medical marijuana.

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1 comments
BrianKelly
BrianKelly

When a loved one is wasting away unable to eat due to Chemotherapy, AIDS Wasting Syndrome, or Multiple Sclerosis, and needs this marvelous herb in order to increase their appetite, reduce the overwhelming pain, and live as as healthy and happily as they can with the time they have left, let's have the compassion to allow them to have it.

Stop treating Medical Marijuana Patients like second rate citizens and common criminals by forcing them to the dangerous black market for their medicine.

Risking incarceration to obtain the medicine you need is no way to be forced to live.

Support Medical Marijuana Now!

"[A] federal policy that prohibits physicians from alleviating suffering by prescribing marijuana for seriously ill patients is misguided, heavy-handed, and inhumane." — Dr. Jerome Kassirer, "Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," editorial, New England Journal of Medicine, January 30, 1997

"[The AAFP accepts the use of medical marijuana] under medical supervision and control for specific medical indications." — American Academy of Family Physicians, 1989, reaffirmed in 2001

"[We] recommend … allow[ing] [marijuana] prescription where medically appropriate." — National Association for Public Health Policy, November 15, 1998

"Therefore be it resolved that the American Nurses Association will: — Support the right of patients to have safe access to therapeutic marijuana/cannabis under appropriate prescriber supervision." — American Nurses Association, resolution, 2003

"The National Nurses Society on Addictions urges the federal government to remove marijuana from the Schedule I category immediately, and make it available for physicians to prescribe. NNSA urges the American Nurses' Association and other health care professional organizations to support patient access to this medicine." — National Nurses Society on Addictions, May 1, 1995

"[M]arijuana has an extremely wide acute margin of safety for use under medical supervision and cannot cause lethal reactions … [G]reater harm is caused by the legal consequences of its prohibition than possible risks of medicinal use." — American Public Health Association, Resolution #9513, "Access to Therapeutic Marijuana/Cannabis," 1995

"When appropriately prescribed and monitored, marijuana/cannabis can provide immeasurable benefits for the health and well-being of our patients … We support state and federal legislation not only to remove criminal penalties associated with medical marijuana, but further to exclude marijuana/cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug." — American Academy of HIV Medicine, letter to New York Assemblyman Richard Gottfried, November 11, 2003

"[The LFA] urges Congress and the President to enact legislation to reschedule marijuana to allow doctors to prescribe smokable marijuana to patients in need … [and] urges the US Public Health Service to allow limited access to medicinal marijuana by promptly reopening the Investigational New Drug compassionate access program to new applicants." — Lymphoma Foundation of America, January 20, 1997

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