Cannabis is a plant that has been used by many people all around the world for many different reasons for many years. People have continued to use it for years in our country, for whatever their own reasons, even though it has been deemed of no value under our current law. It continues to be used today in even greater numbers despite all of the efforts made to persecute people who choose to enjoy its many benefits. The only solution to this problem is full legalization and regulation. If full legalization is passed our country will enjoy tremendous economic windfalls and soaring tax revenues. We know our country could do a lot of good things with money that we will never see unless we stop persecuting a plant and the innocent people who have enjoyed it for thousands of years!
The Vote No on 2 campaign is taking a similar tact, circulating a video arguing that Florida’s law could create an unregulated medical marijuana environment like the one Southern California.
Perhaps the biggest player to enter the fight is Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who recently cut a check for $2.5 million to fund an opposition group called Drug Free Florida Committee.
Adelson has also helped finance the campaign of current Gov. Rick Scott, who is seeking reelection. Scott is an opponent of Amendment 2.
Scott’s challenger, Charlie Crist, is backed by Orlando trial lawyer John Morgan, who has been one of the largest proponents of Amendment 2. Morgan has spent nearly $4 million backing the United For Care petition initiative, which put Amendment 2 on the November ballot.
(Reuters) – The stakes are getting higher – politically and financially – in Florida’s heated campaign over a November referendum to allow doctors to prescribe marijuana.
The latest financial reports by the two main groups fighting the legalization of medical marijuana show a total of more than $7.7 million has been raised to oppose the constitutional amendment on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Proponents of the referendum got a head start with Orlando personal injury attorney John Morgan providing most of the $5 million spent so far by People United for Medical Marijuana, though much of that was devoted to gathering and validating voter petitions and defending the ballot language in court.
Deep-pocketed Republicans have since jumped into the battle. The Drug Free Florida campaign, which opposes the amendment, has raised $2.7 million, including a $2.5 million contribution from Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, a major Republican donor.
This week, the non-partisan Florida Sheriffs Association began a separate “educational campaign” against the amendment.
Polls show a majority of Floridians support medical marijuana legalization but constitutional amendments need a 60 percent majority in order to pass.
“I’m not 100 percent sure it’s a slam dunk,” said University of South Florida political science professor Susan MacManus. “We’re starting to see a lot more attention to some of the unintended consequences (of marijuana legalization) that have happened in Colorado, the negative side of it.”
The Florida amendment is also enmeshed in the hot race for governor. Republican Governor Rick Scott opposes it, while former Governor Charlie Crist, who is seeking to return to the office as a Democrat, supports it.
MacManus said constitutional amendment campaigns sometimes draw big money – trial lawyers and doctors have had big ballot battles over medical malpractice, and casino interests bankrolled some failed initiatives – but the marijuana fight figures to cost more than any previous issues election.
Florida congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz recently said the amendment is too broadly drafted, prompting a stinging rebuke from Morgan, a major party donor who called for her removal as chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee.
The Florida legislature last month passed a bill that would legalize but strictly limit the distribution of a noneuphoric strain of marijuana believed to reduce epileptic seizures. Scott has said he will sign it into law.
November’s referendum is a broader proposal that would allow physicians to recommend the regular form of marijuana to people with debilitating ailments
Would-be medical marijuana entrepreneurs gathered in Orlando were told Friday that if Florida voters approve Amendment 2 in November, any successful businesses must be squeaky clean, savvy about all the usual concerns from capital to patent rights — and positioned for rapid growth.
“We’re all getting in on the ground floor of something that is going to be very, very, very big,” Steve DeAngelo, founder of California’s largest cannabis clinic system, a medical research laboratory and a cannabis business venture capital group, said at a conference titled “CannaBiz Day Orlando.”
DeAngelo was one of more than a dozen speakers organized by the Florida Cannabis Coalition to offer advice, enthusiasm and cautions to about 200 attendees who paid $349 for the conference at the Caribe Royale Convention Center.
in the medical marijuana business nationally. A successful capitalist, a passionate social activist, a savvy motivational speaker and an aging hippie, DeAngelo made it clear that he sees the end game for the medical cannabis movement as total, nationwide legalization of marijuana.
The broader legalization movement will flow from the businesses, he said.
“What I’ve seen across the country is that industry is the single most potent force that we have to dismantle cannabis prohibition,” DeAngelo said.
He argued people ought not scoff at patients using marijuana for “minor” ailments such as insomnia, anxiety or upset stomach, noting those are all huge business targets for the conventional pharmaceutical industry.
DeAngelo also defended pot’s use for what he called “overlooked wellness benefits.”
“The ability to extend your patience. The ability to spark your creativity. The ability to enhance your libido. … Or to open you up to more intense spiritual experience. These are all legitimate wellness uses of cannabis,” he said.
Such comments might play into the hands of Amendment 2 opponents. If the initiative is approved, Florida would allow marijuana to be grown and sold for use by patients with debilitating ailments including cancer, chronic pain and Lou Gehrig’s disease. Some critics believe that the amendment’s vague language could allow doctors to recommend medical marijuana use for almost anything.
Which may be where attendees such as Thomas and Corinne-Ray Hopkins see a role to play. The pair have a marketing firm in Tampa, and their current activities include advising Internet gambling businesses on how to demonstrate their legitimacy, as states like New Jersey legalize it. They came to CannaBiz Florida looking for clients.
They echoed one of DeAngelo’s first points.
“You’ve got to be squeaky clean,” she said. “We understand that from the I-gaming industry.”
It’s a brave new pothead world. Until fairly recently, even a year ago, I would not have guessed that we would be at the place we are now – with 18 states legalizing medical marijuana and, according to one recent poll, a whopping 85 percent of the nation supporting medical use. For all our political rancor, it turns out, what ultimately unites us is pot. Weed is one of the few things that both hillbillies and hippies like. Rappers smoke pot, and country artists smoke pot. There’s just as much pot on Willie Nelson‘s tour bus as there is on Snoop Dogg‘s tour bus. Marijuana is bridging the red and blue divide and becoming a purple issue.
Why New York Needs To Legalize Medical Marijuana Now
New York is poised to become the 23rd state to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes.
The Compassionate Care Act, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D) and state Sen. Diane Savino (D), was passed in the state Senate Health Committee last month, but it still needs to get out of the finance committee before being brought to the floor for a full vote. It would then move to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk to be signed into law.
Cuomo, however, has sent mixed messages over the bill. Although a vocal opponent of any form of marijuana legalization, the New York Democrat has indicated in the past that he’d consider the Compassionate Care Act, and he recently stated that he supports medical marijuana for the seriously ill.
On Wednesday, Cuomo announced that New York will be the second state to launch medical marijuana trials for children suffering from epilepsy. Those trials, however, are limited to Epidiolex, a drug developed by GW Pharmaceuticals that contains a plant-derived, highly purified form of cannabidiol, or CBD, a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis. CBD is often used for medicinal purposes, but doesn’t produce the “high” sensation associated with marijuana.
While Epidiolex offers promising possibilities, medical marijuana advocates wereoutraged by the governor’s announcement, saying that limited trials don’t go far enough for patients in the state and that Cuomo needs to come out in strong support of the Compassionate Care Act now.
“We don’t need a limited research program that will only help the lucky few who can get in enrolled,” said Wendy Conte of Orchard Park, New York, whose daughter Anna suffers from a severe seizure disorder.
“Epidiolex may not even work for every kid who has a seizure disorder. We want options. And we want a workable system that creates access for all patients’ needs — not just my daughter but all those living with epilepsy, cancer, MS, HIV/AIDS, and other serious illnesses,” said Conte, according to a Drug Policy Alliance statement. “If Gov. Cuomo wants to help Anna, he would support the Compassionate Care Act.”
Currently, 22 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, and at least four other states, including New York, appear poised to legalize medical cannabis next.
A recent Qunnipiac poll found that a full 88 percent of New York voters support medical marijuana legalization in the state.
To that end, drug policy reform group DPA developed a website collecting dozens of moving stories from New Yorkers whose lives would be dramatically improved if the New York state Senate passes the Compassionate Care Act before the end of the legislative session on June 19. Here are just a handful of their stories:
ALBANY, N.Y. — The Democratic-led state Assembly on Tuesday passed legislation that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes, increasing pressure on the Senate to pass it before the session concludes at the end of June.
The bill, dubbed the Compassionate Care Act, passed 91-34. The Assembly had previously passed medical marijuana legislation, and in April Democratic Speaker Sheldon Silver said if the Senate were to take up the legislation the Assembly would pass it again.
Democratic Assemblyman Richard Gottfried said particular strains of marijuana can help children with a rare form of epilepsy and patients undergoing chemotherapy.
“Lives could be made more tolerable and longer by enacting this legislation,” Gottfried said.
The Assembly’s passage could be a possible indicator that the Republican-led Senate is gearing up to act on medical marijuana.
Last week medical marijuana cleared its first hurdle and passed the Senate health committee, but its prospects remain uncertain. The measure would still have to clear the Republican-led finance committee and be allowed by both leaders of the Senate to go to a floor vote.
Sen. John DeFrancisco, chairman of the finance committee, did not return calls seeking comment on whether he would allow medical marijuana to be brought to a vote in committee. The bill’s sponsor Sen. Diane Savino, a Staten Island Democrat, said she is confident that she has the votes needed to pass in the finance committee and in the Senate.
Due to the power sharing agreement between Republicans and a faction of five Democrats that control the Senate, each leader can block bills from being brought to the floor by using veto power. Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos has warmed up to the idea, saying he supports medical marijuana use in oil form, but has trepidation about smoking the drug.
Sen. Jeff Klein, who leads a faction of Democrats who control the Senate with Republicans, is a co-sponsor of the bill.
While Gottfried and Savino’s bills are not the same, if the bills passed, the sponsors will have to adjust and consolidate them before legislation reaches Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk.
Cuomo, who proposed a limited medical marijuana pilot program, which would allow 20 hospitals statewide to administer the drug, has been noncommittal on the Compassionate Care Act. He would review the legislation if passed, a spokesman said.
Florida voters support 88 – 10 percent allowing adults to legally use marijuana for medical purposes, if a doctor prescribes it. Support is over 80 percent among all listed groups, including 84 – 13 percent among voters over 65 years old.
By a smaller 53 – 42 percent majority, voters support allowing adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use. There are gender, age and partisan gaps:
Men support so-called recreational marijuana 58 – 38 percent, while women are divided, with 48 percent in favor and 46 percent opposed;
Voters 18 to 29 years old support recreational marijuana 72 – 24 percent, with voters 30 to 64 years old in favor by smaller margins and voters over 65 years old opposed 61 – 33 percent.
Support is 59 – 34 percent among Democrats and 61 – 36 percent among independent voters, with Republicans opposed 64 – 33 percent.
Only 45 percent of Florida voters admit they’ve tried marijuana. Among voters 50 to 64 years old, 62 percent admit smoking pot, more than any other group.
Marijuana is equally as dangerous as alcohol, 43 percent of voters say, while 39 percent say it is less dangerous and 12 percent say it is more dangerous.
Marijuana use does not lead to the use of other drugs, voters say 54 – 38 percent.
“If Vegas were giving odds on medical marijuana becoming legal in Florida, the bookies would be betting heavily,” said Brown. “With almost nine in 10 voters favoring legalization for medical purposes, and bills allowing such use advancing in the State Legislature, the odds seem pretty good Florida may join the states which already have done so.”
From April 23 – 28, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,413 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points.
The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.
For more data or RSS feed- http://www.quinnipiac.edu/polling, call (203) 582-5201, or follow us on Twitter.
38. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
AGE IN YRS..............
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Support 53% 33% 59% 61% 58% 48% 72% 59% 58% 33%
Oppose 42 64 34 36 38 46 24 38 37 61
DK/NA 5 3 7 4 4 6 4 3 5 6
Wht Blk Hsp
Support 53% 52% 52%
Oppose 42 44 43
DK/NA 5 3 6
TREND: Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use?
May 05 Nov 21
Support 53 48
Oppose 42 46
DK/NA 5 6
39. Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?
AGE IN YRS..............
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Support 88% 80% 93% 89% 87% 88% 92% 89% 88% 84%
Oppose 10 16 6 10 11 9 8 9 10 13
DK/NA 2 4 1 1 1 2 - 2 2 3
Wht Blk Hsp
Support 87% 88% 94%
Oppose 11 11 4
DK/NA 2 1 1
TREND: Do you support or oppose allowing adults in Florida to legally use marijuana for medical purposes if their doctor prescribes it?
May 05 Nov 21
Support 88 82
Oppose 10 16
DK/NA 2 3
40. Keeping in mind that all of your answers in this survey are confidential, have you, yourself ever happened to try marijuana?
AGE IN YRS..............
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Yes 45% 37% 48% 49% 54% 36% 44% 50% 62% 23%
No 54 62 51 50 44 62 55 49 36 76
DK/NA 1 1 2 1 2 1 1 1 2 1
Wht Blk Hsp
Yes 47% 45% 35%
No 52 55 63
DK/NA 1 1 2
41. Do you think marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, less dangerous than alcohol, or about equally as dangerous as alcohol?
AGE IN YRS..............
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
More 12% 20% 7% 11% 13% 11% 4% 9% 10% 21%
Less 39 21 46 45 46 33 67 49 37 18
Equally 43 53 42 39 37 49 26 40 46 52
NEITHR ARE(VOL) - - - - - - - 1 - -
DK/NA 5 7 5 4 4 6 3 1 6 8
Wht Blk Hsp
More 14% 7% 9%
Less 36 49 47
Equally 46 34 42
NEITHR ARE(VOL) - 1 -
DK/NA 5 8 3
42. Do you think that for most people, the use of marijuana leads to the use of other drugs, or don’t you think so?
AGE IN YRS..............
Tot Rep Dem Ind Men Wom 18-29 30-49 50-64 65+
Yes 38% 57% 32% 31% 34% 41% 18% 35% 35% 53%
No 54 34 61 62 60 50 77 61 58 34
DK/NA 8 9 7 7 6 9 5 4 7 13
Wht Blk Hsp
Yes 38% 35% 38%
No 53 58 57
DK/NA 8 7 4
Way to create more Cannabis Jobs in Florida. Especially with the November vote on Florida Medical Marijuana.
At this point, Gov. Rick Scott has turned into your embarrassing uncle who won’t stop ranting at dinner about how the government should drug-test everyone, no matter how clearly you explain that such a plan definitely violates the Constitution. Except in this case, it’s the federal court system that keeps telling Scott to back off. And Florida’s governor is simply not interested. Weeks after the Supreme Court refused to hear his argument for why all state employees should have to pee in cups, Scott has filed a new brief in appellate court asking to re-argue his right to drug-test all welfare recipients in Florida.
The plan was originally halted by court order in October 2011 while the ACLU challenged it, and the U.S. District Court threw out the rule in December 2013 based on the arguments of a Navy veteran who said it violated his right against unreasonable search and seizure.
Scott is now back in appeals court, with a new brief filed this week in Atlanta that argues that because there is a “demonstrated problem with drug use” among welfare recipients, it should be legal to test.
“Drug use impedes… participants’ ability to secure employment, [and] drug use harms individuals and families,” Scott’s lawyers argue.
There are a couple of glaring problems with that case, of course. The courts need only to look at what happened in the four months that welfare testing was in place in Florida to contradict the governor’s arguments.
Scott’s welfare drug-testing plan was among his core campaign promises when running for governor. And he kept it — in July 2011 he signed HB 353, which set up the drug-screening requirements to get state assistance.
The plan was a political and policy disaster from the get-go. It didn’t help Scott’s image that the firm he’d founded before getting elected, Solantic, makes millions of dollars by drug-testing people and that the state law forced poor Floridians to pay for their own drug tests. (Scott divested his interest in the company but gave most shares to his wife.)
On the policy side, the tests mostly proved that welfare recipients don’t do drugs very often. More than 4,000 people were tested while the program was in place, and a grand total of 108 failed. That’s less than 3 percent.
To top it all off, the plan landed Scott in an immortal Daily Show sketch in which Aasif Mandvi tried to get the governor to pee in a cup at a news conference:
Cannabis Jobs – Moms for Marijuana International has named the vibrant mother-daughter team, Cheryl Shuman as its next Executive Director and Aimee Shuman as Deputy Director. Cheryl Shuman will take the role of Executive Director, bringing her 25 years skills of public relations, media, product branding, and business development to the blossoming non-profit organization. Aimee Shuman will continue to support her mother and join in her astounding work in the Marijuana Moms Movement, through her position as Deputy Director. The dynamic Cannabis duo will become the new faces and representatives of the Moms for Marijuana mission effective on May 11, 2014 – just in time for Mother’s Day.
Former Executive Director, Serra Frank, said, “Cheryl and Aimee have accomplished so much extraordinary progress in Cannabis reform, world wide, reaching millions of parents through the utilization of mainstream media. It was an easy decision,” said Frank. “Everything I have ever seen them do has been historic and monumental in Cannabis reform. Together, they will lead the Executive Direction of Moms for Marijuana into the future.”
Cheryl, who will take over as Executive Director for Ms. Frank, said, “I’ve known Serra for many years now and have always been inspired by her vision and dedication to moms and parents around the world. I am honored by the opportunity to join such a dynamic and ambitious organization, with such a clear and focused mission—improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable, women and children. Our partnership with Moms creates a wonderful opportunity for women around the world to follow in the footsteps of Pauline Sabine from the 1930′s who led a group of dedicated women to overturn alcohol prohibition. Today, we are witnessing the beginning to the end of cannabis prohibition.”
Frank will retain her position as the Founding Director of Moms for Marijuana. “I have also taken on the task of being the Director of the Official Mom Squad (the organization’s membership),” she said, “to continue to guide Moms for Marijuana into becoming everything I have ever envisioned.”
Deputy Director Aimee Shuman states, “Women are the secret to legalization. We are the family decision makers and influencers in society. After all, women buy 85% of all household and consumer products, according to Adweek. Now we can use that influence to change laws, save lives, families and introduce parents to new possible careers in the green rush. As an entrepreneur, it’s exciting to be on the ground floor of the cutting edge of making news and witnessing the convergence of celebrity and cannabis culture.”
“The right leadership team is everything. Working with Cheryl and Aimee these past few years, it was evident immediately that it was a perfect fit in terms of values, integrity and personality. The addition of Aimee and Cheryl Shuman on our team elevates Mom’s stature, adding prestige and thus creating a positive ‘halo’ around the organization. The value of their ability to provide global celebrity and media exposure for our organization are priceless,” said Serra Frank, Founder of Moms for Marijuana International.
About Moms for Marijuana International:
Moms for Marijuana International is a grassroots network and organization of parents and other citizens across the world who are concerned with what they consider an ignorant war that continues to be fought against the Cannabis (Hemp or Marijuana) plant, and how it is negatively affecting the future generations of this earth. They focus on raising awareness, promoting education, and cultivating discussion about every aspect of the Cannabis plant, its history and prohibition, as well as the potential it has for the future.
Since its creation, by Serra Frank in 2005, Moms for Marijuana has grown into a global organization of parents actively working to change the stigma that surrounds the Cannabis plant and its consumers. Moms for Marijuana has a twitter following of 22,000 people, and a facebook following of over 225,000. In 2012, they also started a sister chapter called Parents for Marijuana, that has a facebook following of over 30,000.
Frank says, “Everything in life changes, and we must change with it. The only constant in life is that continuous change. We have recreated ourselves and our group numerous times over the last 10 years, and now it’s time to do it again. We have been working to redesign our website and hope to have it published soon. It is our intention that, through our website and our presence, we will help to educate the world’s parents about all aspects of Cannabis, and bring attention to the dire need for global examination and re-utilization of this extremely beneficial plant.” http://www.MomsForMarijuana.org
About Cheryl Shuman Inc. :
Cheryl Shuman’s TV reality started at age three with Charles Kuralt. By age seventeen, she had made several television appearances and was offered to appear regularly on The Bob Braun Show on WLWT-TV in Cincinnati, which led to a national recurring segment on PM Magazine. At age twenty-three, Cheryl relocated to Los Angeles to become know as the “Optician to the Stars” and created a new business, Starry Eyes. As CEO of Starry Eyes, Cheryl worked on some of the biggest films, TV, and music properties generating multi-million dollar revenues. This success led to her own show on the QVC network and a mutually rewarding seven-year relationship that included product placement, production and branded entertainment divisions.
In 2006, Shuman was diagnosed with cancer. After years of following failed allopathic medicine treatments, she opted for medical cannabis in the form of raw juice and oils as an alternative. Her success using medical cannabis led her to found the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club. Today, Cheryl is the most visible and recognizable woman in the medical marijuana reform movement, recently receiving the 2013 Activist of the Year Award at Seattle Hempfest. Together Cheryl and Aimee, her daughter and EVP of Cheryl Shuman, Inc., have reached over 100 million viewers worldwide while appearing on such mainstream shows as CNN’s Piers Morgan Live, The Katie Couric Show, The View, ABC’s 20/20, Good Morning America, Fox Business News and many other media outlets. Cheryl Shuman is represented by the prestigious William Morris Endeavor Agency in Beverly Hills. For more information, please visit CherylShuman.com.
The state House passed the measure on Thursday, and the state Senate is expected to pass it on Friday, the last day of the legislative session. Both houses are controlled by Republicans.
“I’m a parent and grandparent. I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren have the access to the health care they want,” the Republican governor, who’s up for re-election this year, told reporters Thursday. “If it passes I’m going to sign it.”
The type of marijuana, which is low in THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), is aimed to help those suffering from epilepsy, as well as some cancer patients and those with persistent muscle spasms or seizures and who don’t respond well to other medications, according to the Miami Herald. Qualified children will also have access to the strain.
Scott’s support for the bill came as a surprise for many in Florida, as the governor said in January he would not support a ballot initiative this November that would legalize medical marijuana through a constitutional amendment.
“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,” he said in a statement provided to CNN by a spokesman. “But, having seen the terrible affects (sic) of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it.”
Recent polls in the state show strong, bipartisan support for the amendment.
According to a Quinnipiac University poll released in November, 82% of Florida voters support legalizing medical marijuana, while 16% oppose it. Breaking it down by party lines, 87% of Democrats support it, as did 70% of Republicans.
The use of marijuana for medical reasons is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s challenging Scott this year in the gubernatorial election as a Democrat, has said he supports the ballot initiative.
It’s not just stoners that support legalization these days. Politicians are joining the movement, and in droves. Whether a political agenda designed to appeal to 56% of America that supports legalization or merely a display of common sense, both local and national legislative figures keep showing their support.And in New York, it’s coming to a high. In Long Island alone, a recent Newsday poll asked 81 Long Island based, local politicians if they would legalize medical marijuana. 32 said they would. 47 said they weren’t sure (c’mon guys). A mere two respondents said they opposed medical marijuana’s legalization.
Among those who said they would support legalizing medical marijuana were Democratic U.S. Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Charles Schumer and U.S. Reps. Tim Bishop, Carolyn McCarthy and Gregory Meeks.
Republican State Assemb. Michael Fitzpatrick and Democratic Suffolk Legis. William Spencer said they would not support such a measure, though Spencer qualified his answer by saying, “if the conditions, qualifications and methods of delivery can be … [strictly] clarified and controlled I would consider supporting it.” [Newsday]
So of the only two naysayers in all of Long Island, one of them would be amenable to marijuana reform. This poll is not a fluke. A newspaper in Ohio couldn’t even find anyone to write a counter-argument for legalization, leaving an entire page blank.
Naturally, we’re still a long way from federal legalization. But every year, every month, every week, and every day, perceptions and minds are changing. The arguments against legalization continue to become more and more futile.
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It’s been an incredibly busy, and productive year thus far for the cannabis reform movement, and the past month has been a shining example of this progress. Here’s a look at some of what’s been accomplished.
On March 21st, Utah’s governor signed into law a proposal which legalizes cannabis extracts (such as oils and tinctures) for medical purposes. The measure takes effect on July 1st.
On March 31st, Washington D.C.’s mayor signed a measure into law which removes criminal penalties for the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. The new law reduces the penalty from an arrestable misdemeanor, to a $25 ticket.
On April 13th, Kentucky’s governor signed a bill which allows universities in the state with a school of medicine to produce and distribute the cannabis extract cannabidiol to qualified patients who receive a recommendation from one of the university’s physicians. The measure would also allow anyone enrolled in an FDA trial (two such trials were approved by the FDA last year) to be legally treated with cannabis oil.
On April 14th Maryland’s governor signed two cannabis proposals into law, one to decriminalize the possession of up to 10 grams of cannabis, making it a simply $100 ticket for someone’s first offense ($250 for their second offense, $500 for subsequent offenses), and one to legalize medical cannabis, including a minimum of 94 state-licensed dispensaries.
On April 16th Alabama officially legalized medical cannabis extracts with the governor’s signature of Senate Bill 174. The new law allows the University of Alabama’s Department of Neurology to prescribe, produce and distribute low-THC cannabis extracts to those with seizure disorders. The bill is being funded by $1 million from the state’s Education Trust Fund.
On April 18th Wisconsin’s governor signed a measure into law which legalizes the possession, use, production and distribution of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive compound of cannabis.
Cannabis Jobs – For many people, marijuana is a drug. It has been around for thousands of years and its cultivation has been recorded in China as early as 2737 B.C. According to history, there were more Americans that were addicted to marijuana in 1900 than when it was highly popular during the 1960s. Although still illegal in many countries as well as most states in the U.S., there have been many studies conducted for marijuana’s use as medicine for a wide range of illnesses, which have been the subject of many debates.
Two Florida senators, Joe Saunders (D) and Jeff Clemens (D), introduced almost the same bills this year for the legalization of medical marijuana treatment. They wanted to have it approved before the public vote for a constitutional amendment comes up in November. For people like Florida Cannabis Action Network president Cathy Jordan, who is suffering from ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), the bill considers the patient first before politics.
According to the legislation and the amendment that had just been introduced, laws would be specifically spelled out regarding the tight regulations on the state level that will be required from doctors that will prescribe marijuana to treat conditions such as ALS, HIV/AIDS and cancer as well as other afflictions that are severely debilitating.
If approved, the next legislation would deal with how marijuana will be grown, how it will be accessed and the consequences if those without legal rights seek to abuse it.
In the meantime, there were already 18 medical marijuana companies that have registered in the state of Florida just this year alone. Among those that are at the forefront is The Florida Medical Marijuana Treatment Center Institute, which will offer seminars and courses on the regulatory environment for medical marijuana use focused on retailers, processors as well as growers.
In a recent March Poll, Seventy Four Percent Say ‘Yes’ To Medical Marijuana In Florida
All eyes are on Florida, where a medical marijuana initiative has made the ballot. Florida is a very significant state in the battle for safe access. If/when Florida voters approved Proposition 2 in November, Florida will become the first Southern state to legalize medical marijuana. Florida has a lot of reach beyond it’s borders too, as many seniors spend their winters there, many people have family there, and it’s also a hot travel destination for many people. A lot of influential people live in Florida, and I’m confident that once they see how well medical marijuana works, they will do more to make medical marijuana a reality nationwide.
According to a new poll released by the University of North Florida, “Seventy-four percent of registered voters polled responded that they would vote “yes” for Proposition 2, allowing the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician.”
The official question that was asked in the poll was, “Proposition 2 on the statewide ballot in the fall of 2014 is called “Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions.” This amendment allows the medical use of marijuana for individuals with debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician. If the election were held today, would you vote Yes or No for this proposition?” 74% said ‘yes’, only 22% said ‘no’, and 4% were undecided.
Compare those numbers to the response given when the same people were asked if they support full legalization. 57% said that they would oppose such reform, while only 41% said that they would support legalization. Florida might not be ready to legalize recreational marijuana, but Florida is certainly ready for medical marijuana. I’m confident that after the sky stays in place after medical marijuana legalization, people will jump on board with legalization.