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medical marijuana

Minnesota has become the 22nd state to loosen restrictions on use of marijuana, with its legislature approving the sale and use of medical marijuana on May 15. Other states, including Florida, are considering similar measures.

These changes are happening fast, and we were wondering how people feel about this seemingly inexorable push to decriminalize pot, so we asked, in the latest NPR-Truven Health Analytics Health Poll.

The group that wants you to vote "no" on legalizing medical marijuana this November has launched a web site and produced a video. Its media warns that Amendment Two is much more permissive and loophole-ridden than most people realize.

Florida Market Sparks Marijuana Gold Rush

May 10, 2014

State lawmakers want to keep Florida pot home-grown. But the low-THC medical marijuana recently authorized by the Legislature has sparked an out-of-state "green" rush before the bill has even been signed into law.

Pot-related business owners from outside the state are less interested in the low-THC strain that will soon be legal --- Gov. Rick Scott has said he will sign the bill --- than the regular old weed, if only for limited medical use, that might be authorized by voters in November.

Medical Marijuana Measure on Its Way to Gov. Scott

May 2, 2014

Standing in front of a salad bar in the basement of the Capitol on Friday afternoon, Holley Moseley could not keep from smiling.

Moseley and her adopted daughter RayAnn had just met with Gov. Rick Scott, shortly after the Legislature gave final passage to a measure that Moseley believes can save her 11-year-old daughter's life and that the governor promised to sign into law.

Lawmakers burst into applause after the 111-7 vote that followed nearly two hours of questions and debate. In the end, some lawmakers who were torn on the issues said their hearts were swayed by the stories of parents seeking to help children with severe epilepsy. “The compassion that was felt in the words of everyone who spoke, the sincerity of this desire to help people who need help lifted this chamber up today,” Republican House Speaker Will Weatherford said after the vote. The bill puts some restrictions on the use of the marijuana strain known as Charlotte’s Web. It can have no more than 0.8 percent THC, the chemical that makes users feel high. On average, marijuana has about 15 percent THC, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The strain has normal levels of cannabidiol, or CBD, which is used to treat seizures.

Pot is still illegal at the federal level but legal as medicine in 21 states and as a recreational drug in two. Meanwhile county, city, and town governments are all struggling to regulate an industry that has suddenly transformed from outlaw venture to respectable business. This November, Florida could become the 22nd state to legalize medical marijuana if more than 60 percent of voters approve an amendment to the state constitution.

A passionately, tearfully debated bill legalizing non-smoked medical marijuana is headed to the Florida House floor after passing its final committee today. But some who voted for the measure warned they could not continue supporting it in its current form.

During Monday’s debate, several legislators acknowledged they’re part of a national sea change on the issue of medical marijuana.

Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood) brought up today’s “Diane Rehm Show” discussion of America’s attitude shift toward marijuana.

The House Appropriations Committee has signed off on allocating $1 million to research a non-intoxicating form of medicinal marijuana to treat unmanageable epilepsy in children.

The panel voted 24-0 for the measure (HB 843) on Thursday.

Dalia Colón / WUSF

You may expect a lecture at cannabis college to sound like a scene from the stoner movie Half Baked.

Instead, it sounds like a lot of talk about light bulb wattage and ducting systems.

Major buzz kill.

politifact.com

This November, voters in Florida will decide the fate of medical marijuana.          

Critics of the measure say this will open the floodgates and eventually lead to recreational use of pot.  Senate President Don Gaetz said recently that the way the proposed amendment is worded, just about any medical condition - real or perceived - will allow folks to get pot.

www.forthepeople.com

John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney known for his television and radio ads, played a large role in getting a constitutional amendment attempting to legalize medical marijuana on the Florida ballot in November.

On Friday at the Suncoast Tiger Bay Club in Tampa, he addressed critics who say he has a hidden agenda.

Two Democratic state lawmakers filed bills Monday to legalize medical marijuana in Florida. The measure is called the Cathy Jordan Cannabis Act, after a Florida woman who has lived with Lou Gehrig’s disease for the better part of thirty years.

If it passed, the bill would task Florida’s Department of Health and Department of Business and Professional Regulation with figuring out how to regulate and distribute the cannabis. Several patients who say they benefit from using medical marijuana joined the bill sponsors at a news conference at the Capitol.

Fact-Checking Marijuana Claims

Feb 5, 2014

There is going to be a lot of talk about marijuana in the state of Florida between now and November, when Floridians will be given an opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Around the country, 20 states and the District of Columbia have already taken that step.

To clear the air as the debate over medical marijuana gets underway here, PolitiFact Florida fact-checked some claims being made about the medical marijuana and the effects of marijuana.

Pot Amendment Puts Cloud Over Anti-Seizure Marijuana Debate

Jan 28, 2014

Backers of a non-euphoric strain of cannabis that helps reduce seizures in children aren't giving up on a legislative fix, but the politics of pot could make their uphill battle even steeper.

A sharply divided Florida Supreme Court on Monday approved a ballot initiative that would allow doctors to prescribe medical marijuana, rejecting arguments from Attorney General Pam Bondi, Republican legislative leaders and others that the proposal was misleading and would give doctors broad discretion over who would qualify for the pot.

TALLAHASSEE -- A Florida measure that would allow the use of medical marijuana has cleared its final hurdle and will be on the November ballot. 

The state Supreme Court on Monday approved the language for the proposed constitutional amendment.

The justices approved the ballot summary 4-3 just three days after a petition drive reached the required number of signatures to place the measure on the ballot.

The medical marijuana petition drive has enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot, and now it's up to the state Supreme Court to give its approval.

The proposed constitutional amendment surpassed the number of needed voter signatures on Friday. The proposed amendment would allow doctors to prescribe marijuana for debilitating conditions.

Elections supervisors have certified 710,508 signatures, more than the 683,149 needed to get on the ballot.

(file photo) / Associated Press

Republican Gov. Rick Scott said Tuesday he will vote against a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the medical use of marijuana if it makes the 2014 ballot.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILE

Backers of a medical marijuana constitutional amendment in Florida announced Wednesday evening that they have collected enough signatures to make the 2014 ballot.

Ben Pollara, the campaign manager for United for Care, sent out an email to supporters that organizers have collected more than 1.1 million signatures.

“This is an enormous achievement,” Pollara wrote.

Organizers have until Feb. 1 to gather 683,189 voter signatures. So far election supervisors have certified nearly 458,000 signatures.

Florida may soon become the latest state to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana. Advocates there are gathering signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot.

But Florida's Legislature may act sooner to allow residents access to a particular type of marijuana. Advocates say the strain called Charlotte's Web offers hope to children with severe seizure disorders.

Katie O'Connor

 

We're taking another listen to some of our most memorable stories of 2013.

www.news4jax.com

Republican-turned-Democrat Charlie Crist is leading Republican Gov. Rick Scott by 7 points in a poll released Thursday, but the lead is much closer than it was seven months ago.

Crist announced earlier this month that he would seek his old job with his new party. The announcement, though, doesn't seem to have given him a boost with voters. He leads Scott 47-40 in the Quinnipiac University poll, but led Scott by 16 percentage polls in Quinnipiac poll in March, when his entry in the race was still speculative.

Florida's top legislative leaders are coming out against a push to allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons.

House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz announced Wednesday that they will ask the Florida Supreme Court to block the proposed amendment.

In a memo Gaetz said after consulting with senate staff he had concluded that the medical marijuana amendment would mislead voters.

The Republican legislators are joining Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi in their opposition to the amendment. Bondi last week asked the court to block the measure.

John Sajo

TALLAHASSEE -- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is challenging a proposal to allow the use of medical marijuana in the state. 

Bondi criticized the proposed amendment in a filing she made Thursday to the Florida Supreme Court. By law, the attorney general asks the court to review proposed amendments.

The Supreme Court could throw out the amendment if it agrees with Bondi.

The Republican attorney general called the amendment misleading. Bondi told the court that if passed by voters the measure would allow marijuana use in limitless situations.

In the first of three estimating conferences dealing with the financial impact of the medical marijuana amendment, state economists on Monday learned that more than 1.6 million Floridians would be eligible for the treatment, according to state health officials. But just a fraction of those --- between 175,000 and 450,000 --- would probably pursue the legal pot to cope with a variety of diseases, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis C.

This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Carson Cooper hosted a discussion on medical marijuana. 

John Sajo

A group called United for Care is behind the push to get a constitutional amendment legalizing medical marijuana on the 2014 Florida ballot. The group is chaired by Orlando attorney John Morgan, founder of the law firm Morgan & Morgan, who is bankrolling the campaign. 

    

This week on Florida Matters, WUSF’s Carson Cooper hosts a discussion on medical marijuana in Florida.

The debate over legalizing medical marijuana in Florida is heating up, the Tampa Bay Times reports. Some polls show enough public support to get the signatures needed to get it on the ballot next year, and the initiative has the financial support of attorney John Morgan of “For The People” advertising fame. But opponents, including St. Petersburg-based Drug Free America, worry that medical marijuana could create problems similar to what the state has seen with prescription pills.

Robert Jordan won’t face any charges for growing two marijuana plants to treat his wife's illness, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. Cathy Jordan suffers from the paralyzing disease ALS, and prosecutors decided not to press charges because her husband would likely win in court with a medical necessity defense.

Attorney John Morgan, who founded a huge plaintiff’s law firm based in Orlando, will lead the effort in Florida to legalize medical marijuana, the Tampa Bay Times reports. He has the money to spend and a personal reason behind it: He says marijuana was the only thing that helped his father when was sick with cancer and emphysema.

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