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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Medical marijuana will be on the Florida ballot in November, which is bad news for Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican leaders who oppose any relaxation of the state’s backward cannabis laws.

They say medical use of weed is the first step toward Colorado-style legalization, and they might be right. They say that although the proposed constitutional amendment names only nine diseases, lots of people who aren’t really sick will find a way to get marijuana from certain doctors.

That’s probably true, too. This, after all, is the state that made pill mills a roadside tourist attraction. Who can doubt that future pot prescriptions will bear the signatures of a Dr. Cheech or a Dr. Chong?

But guess what — voters know that, and most don’t seem worried. They’ve seen what’s happened in California, where no anarchy materialized after medicinal pot was approved.

Nor has the fabric of society disintegrated in the 20 other states and the District of Columbia, where similar laws are on the books.

In Florida, as is true throughout the country, public surveys continue to show landslide support for medical marijuana, and a majority favoring the decriminalization of small amounts for personal use.

This is a thorny problem for conservative Republicans like Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi, who are up for re-election. They now have to sally forth and crusade against a popular cause, trying to stir fear and doubts among a constituency that’s heard it all before.

The main force behind the medical marijuana movement is John Morgan, an Orlando trial attorney. Morgan is a major Democratic donor who is close to former governor Charlie Crist, Scott’s likely opponent in November.

One would assume that having medicinal pot on the ballot will draw more Democrats and independents to the polls, boosting Crist’s chances of beating Scott. However, the high polling popularity of the marijuana measure means lots of Republican voters like it, too.

For one thing, pot really does help certain patients with glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other serious medical conditions that don’t discriminate between liberals and conservatives.

  • Daniel Jones

    I think the problem with Marijuana in these people’s eyes is that users aren’t killed or degraded enough.

    They prefer people kill themselves enjoying nicotine or liquor so they can feel superior.

  • Budjob

    MJ all the way!!!

  • disqus_ivSI3ByGmh

    If Rick Scott had figured out a way to make money off this, it would already be legal in Florida.

  • Kurt CPI

    The sole reason to legalize marijuana is that the laws serve no purpose except to jail and fine people who get caught using it. As the author points out, so many people use it that if you did a mandatory test of the entire 18 and up population you’d have to turn 1/2 the country into detention camps to jail the offenders. I stopped using pot when I was 25. Not because I stopped liking it, but because I began to see that something was taking the edge off my intelligence. Subtle things – losing at chess more frequently to the same opponents; having to look up the same word definition twice in a month; becoming a “dyslexic” typist when I did not have that problem previously. Obviously I can’t say with any certainty that it was due to the pot usage. But 32 years later I can say that what I lost, for whatever the reason, did not return after I quit. What I CAN say for certain is that being illegal did not influence my choice to use pot. Now that it is legal in my state I have not resumed my use and have no intention to do so. And jail time and/or a fine would have served no purpose in my youth. Personally, I think using pot is a bad idea. But that’s a personal belief. Bad idea or not, it’s not criminal.

  • howa4x

    It is really interesting that republicans still demonize pot because the gateway to heroin addiction is prescription pain killers sold in every pharmacy. These pain killers like Oxy mimic heroin which can be easily substituted for them, and is cheaper. Because republicans are usually funded by big Pharma there are fewer restrictions on Oxy than most other drugs, since they are a money maker for the industry. Most people know this and it’s why the republicans seem hollow on this issue.

  • James

    The article stated that pill mills kill people [and nobody disputes that] but claims these dispensaries don’t. No, THEY don’t but people who drive stoned DO kill other people; my friend is dead because of it. Before we legalize everything I think we need to have laws in place to catch up to problems that are certain to follow. Road side “breathalizer” type tests, etc.

    And the picture used for the article is pathetic……he looks stoned already.

    • Mikey7a

      One question James, do you think ALL alcohol should be illegal? If not, your statement has no validity, sorry.

      • James

        Hey Mikey,
        I’m uncertain what your question has to do with my comment. I said we need a type of breathalizer test for MJ [just as we have one for booze] and one for prescription drugs as well. Nobody should drive intoxicated or under the influence of anything. But just to answer your question, I see no need for alcohol or prescription drugs either.

  • Mikey7a

    I have not used Pot in almost 20 years. As a Florida resident, who lives in constant pain, gets injections almost monthly, takes 4, sometimes 5-6 Lortab 10/325 tablets a day, with little to NO help, if they legalize it, I would consider using it. The pills, and injections, are surely killing my organs.

    Google Dr. Raphael Mechoulam. He is the scientist that discovered THC(the main ingredient in Marijuana). This man in Israel, has been doing medical research on it, for over 50 years. He said recently, on Real Sports, that they were actually healing brain damaged mice with it. He also believes that if Pot were made legal, it would replace up to 20% of all pain medicines!

    The only reason it remains illegal in my opinion, is that Law Enforcement agencies, use it to keep the coffers full, and to keep the young, African American down! Yes, other races get caught too, but none anywhere near the percentage of young Black males.

  • FredAppell

    It wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Rick Scott is a closet puffer. “They say medical use of weed is the first step toward Colorado-style legalization”, well duh, millions of people get stoned everyday without it being legal. Wake up folks! Get the image of the dumb stoner out of your heads and realize that many people from all walks of life puff to relax and they’re not stupid. It’s disturbing that marijuana smokers are treated like hardened felons but the real criminals can serve a short sentence just for turning states evidence against other hardened criminals, many of whom are let go to continue their criminal activities.