By Serennah Thomas
Gov. Rick Scott recently signed into law a bill that allows terminal patients to use full-strength medical marijuana. This is likely going to pave the way for a full-blown legalization of marihuana in the sunshine state.
Medical Marijuana will be on the Florida Ballot this presidential term on November 8, 2016, a decision that is very controversial in current times. The Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative, also known as Amendment 2, is an initiated constitutional amendment which “would legalize medical marijuana for individuals with debilitating medical conditions as determined by a licensed state physician.”
In 2015, Republican State Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota refiled a bill to allow the medical use of marijuana. His bill states that it is to be used for HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis and any terminal illness where a person has less than a year to live.
In view of June 2015, a new trend had taken root across Florida where many cities and counties have taken steps to replace most arrests for possession of under 20 grams of marijuana with civil penalties.
As of April 2016, The Orange County Council by a unanimous 7-0 vote gave law officers the discretion to ticket carriers who possess 20 grams of marijuana or less. In lieu of being arrested and charged with a misdemeanor, violators would be fined $100.
United for Care, also known as People United for Medical Marijuana argued marijuana’s medical value: “cocaine, morphine, and methamphetamine may all be legally administered to patients so why not marijuana, which has a far lower rate of dependency and for which there has never been a recorded overdose.”
They also argue that prescription drugs often come with far more serious side effects than marijuana, and many patients who find relief from marijuana simply do not respond to prescription medications. Smoking or vaporizing marijuana are said to be a much more effective delivery method than pills for many patients. The drug is said to work more instantly, the dosage may be controlled by the patient, and there is virtually no problem “keeping it down” since it cannot be vomited back up.
Mellissa Hills believes that medical marijuana would be helpful due to the fact that she suffers with her eyes. She said, “Not everyone can afford the glaucoma medication that is provided but maybe the medical marijuana could help me with my eye sight.” She also said that it could help with children who suffer from epilepsy.
Daquan Phillips a student at Seminole State College believes that medical marijuana is useful because it has been proven to help with depression and if it is legalized it could take out the pill form of medication so that the rate of overdose can decrease.
Charity Lewis, a student at University of South Florida said, “I’m on the fence about it because people with medical issues who really need it should have access to it but at the same time that would open the door for other people to fake illnesses just to get it. I haven’t made up my mind about it.”
The campaign prior to this decision received a significant amount of signatures and a few changes to the information on ballot, differing from the 2014 election defeat. This time around, parental consent for minors as well as a better definition of what a “debilitating disease” is which could potentially lead to a victory in this upcoming election.
Serennah Thomas can be reached @firstname.lastname@example.org