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Gaetz, Weatherford and Bondi blast medical marijuana amendment in formal court briefs

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz filed a brief to the Supreme Court Friday afternoon opposing a proposed medical marijuana constitutional amendment on Friday afternoon, stating it’s “misleading and inaccurate rhetoric.”

Their objections largely mirror arguments by Attorney General Pam Bondi, who also filed her brief against the amendment late Friday afternoon. She said the proposal “hides the fact that the Amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient medical-marijuana states, allowing use for limitless ‘other conditions’ specified by any physician.”

Ben Pollara, People United for Medical Marijuana’s campaign manager, said arguments by Bondi and the legislative leaders are “a misrepresentation of our amendment” and said accusations that the amendment would make Florida one of the most lenient states “way off base.”

People United has collected more than 200,000 petitions (121,592 have been validated) to get the amendment on the ballot in 2014 -- the group will need at least 683,149 signatures by Feb. 1 -- if the Florida Supreme Court doesn’t shoot it down first.

The Court is slated to hear oral arguments on the ballot initiative Dec. 5.

“This ‘60s era reefer madness hysteria has to stop,” said Sen. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, who has proposed medical marijuana legislation for three years. “It’s a drug that should be regulated like any other drug. It should to be up to the physician what’s best for their patient.”