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Florida Supreme Court grills attorney defending medical marijuana amendment

Florida Supreme Court justices on Thursday peppered the attorney for the group backing a proposed medical marijuana amendment with lots of questions on several issues concerning the language and intent of the amendment during an hour-long hearing.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, legislative leaders and other opponents have raised numerous objections to the proposed state constitutional amendment, which People United for Medical Marijuana wants to put on the 2014 ballot if the group can get the 683,149 signatures it needs by early next year.

Most questions directed at People United attorney Jon Mills addressed possible vague or misleading language in the amendment's title -- "Use of Marijuana for Certain Medical Conditions." They focused on the words "debilitating" and "disease" versus medical condition, honing in on the state's initial complaint that the amendment is too broad, in effect, leading to de facto marijuana legalization under the guise of compassionate medicine.

The proposed initiative would allow marijuana to be used in several specified conditions but it also states that it could be used for "any other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient."

Mills argued that the amendment was indeed narrow and would apply to people with serious conditions, not someone with a headache or anxiety over a test. 

Justices Barbara Pariente and Peggy Quince appeared inclined to ask Mills questions to help explain the amendment where Chief Justice Ricky Polston and Justice Charles T. Canady were more challenging in their remarks, with Canady asking more probing questions of Mills than the state's Solicitor General Allen Winsor.

None of the amendment's major opponents -- Attorney General Pam Bondi, Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford or Senate President Don Gaetz -- were present but John Morgan, the high-profile attorney backing the People United Campaign, was in the courtroom. After the oral arguments, he said tactfully that hee thought the justices were "smart" and asked smart questions.

Morgan said if the amendment makes it to the ballot it won't have a big impact on the candidates. "People who will vote for Rick Scott will vote for this, said Morgan, who has spent about $1 million on the campaign so far. "People who vote for Nan Rich or Charlie Crist will vote for this."

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have decriminalized medical marijuana under state law.

The justices have to make a decision by April 1.

Comments

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ed jenkins

The people of Florida are pleased to see their elected leaders are listening to them and trying to prevent these drug dealers from harming our youths. It is also encouraging to hear that judges who cannot always be relied on to follow the law are also troubled by these attempts to infiltrate our family friendly state with these dangerous addictive drugs in their attempt to sell them to our youth to abuse.

tony smith

Ed Jenkins -- you are living in the 1400s.

John

Ed, unfortunately your line of thinking is quickly going extinct. This will eventually be legalized throughout the country at the will of a majority of its citizens. Our state needs to determine if it is worth devoting costly resources to postpone. I would argue that it is not. I'll also add that most vocal politicians against putting it to a vote are the same politicians who preach government restraint in private lives. Hypocrisy at its finest.

jim

Ed Jenkins what is your problem sir? Do you understand about pain and suffering and how medical marijuana can help in a HUGE way. Your way of thinking is selfish and without reason other than what you have HEARD about marijuana and not what you KNOW. At 58 years old I am in the position that it helps me so much I do not have to take my perscription for addictive dangerous narcotics. Does this make any sense to you or other who oppose medical marijuana. Look ath the facts of WHY it is illegal and who started it a long ago and what was his reasoning to do so. One politician with an agenda...look at your history sir!! God put it on the planet in its purest form grown from our mother earth. Open your eyes and hearts people. Listen to those who know....

tr

The fair thing to do would be let the people decide. Oh! its call democracy.

ed jenkins

It is not surprising that drug addicts and abusers would come to say that the source of their shallow temporary good feelings should be allowed as it continues to destroy their lives and health. Only someone under the influence of such dangerous and addictive drugs would believe that the people of a great law abiding and family friendly state would want to trade those characteristics for drug infested cesspool. It would be best for everyone in the few moments that they are not abusing these dangerous drugs that they are harming themselves and their desires to harm and corrupt our youth will not be tolerated but instead punished.

Steve Bushemi

Florida has one of the most serious prescription drug problems because addictive drugs are being sold as medicine through the corruption of our leaders and ignorance of the people. A herbal supplement that is not an opioid , barbiturate, or amphetamine related stimulant is far too safe and easily produced for the prescription industry to continue the huge 340 billion dollar revenue they see. A plant that alleviates a spectrum of disorders would invalidate the plethora of pills the american public is being fed to alleviate symptoms *accompanied by mild to sever side effects. You know those Oxycontin pills that you get for your back pain? congratulations your using the prescription equivalent of opium.

Robert

What it is all boils down to is this: Big Pharm makes campaign contributions, those wanting medical marijuana don't. These companies do not want "real" medical science to be heard; they want more profits in their pockets. Let us for a minute realize, if medical marijuana is indeed allowed; their profits will drop dramatically. Big Pharm has a second plan; or a plan "B". They own and manage huge fields in third world countries; just in case, this weed is permitted.

Immortal Illumined

t3 greatest plant in the universe is almost free, LET FREEDOM RING!!!13

20 years behind us Florida, sad and scary....not surprised those in power are denying the freedoms in Florida, nothing new for the south...far be it for any government to ever tell me and mine what we CAN and CANNOT put in our bodies...ever

..if we cannot a find a way, we will make one......

AMERICA'S WAR ON DRUGS IS A WAR ON AMERICANS!!!33

Kevin Hunt

Ed Jenkins is a crotchety old fool. Good thing that only 14% of Floridians oppose medical marijuana.
"The classification of marijuana as a Schedule I drug as well as the continuing controversy as to whether or not cannabis is of medical value are obstacles to medical progress in this area. Based on evidence currently available the Schedule I classification is not tenable; it is not accurate that cannabis has no medical value, or that information on safety is lacking."

Source: Medical Marijuana: Clearing Away the Smoke

Open Neurol J. 2012

Carlotta Moss

No one wants to deny marijuana to sick people.
The problem is that it becomes too easy for anyone to get.
Having lived in California with a high school aged child, I can tell you that a marijuana card can be purchased for a 50.00 doctor visit.
The kids buy from adults with cards and get their own as soon as they turn 18.
The marijana is so strong it is hard to even describe. It is awful for young brains that arent finished forming.
Adults should be able to do as they please, but lets not pretend this is only about sick people.
You will be disgusted when the shops are in your town and it was only about turning out an otherwise uninterested voting block.
The cards will not be hard to get under the language of this law.
I am not living in the 1400s , I haved lived through this in real time in amother state.
It is not what you think it will be.
Sincerely,
Carlotta Moss

ed jenkins

As Mrs. Moss expresses the citizens of Florida are their concerned and do not want that this attempt by drug dealers to infest the community with dangerous and addictive drugs in hopes of attracting our youth as future drug abusers. There are a majority of comments from drug abusers and addicts that want to continue their shallow and worthless lifestyles of abusing drugs but the people of Florida are horrified by this attempt and greatly applaud the attempt by their political leaders to prevent dangerous and addictive drugs from reaching their children. A next step that the people desire is for these drug abusers and dealers behind this effort to face the punishment required under our laws.

Brian

Ed Jenkins also doesn't like gay people. It is 2013 ED. You are holding our country back. Pot is harmless and not addicting. Your tired old arguments will prove to be futile. If not this time around, then next. Get used to it. You are out of touch and out of time.

BILL DURHAM

support drug dealers???? really?? if you think about the big picture,the real drug dealers are in mexico,so if we the people decide to legalize medical marijuana,the cartels will lose millions of dollars because the grow operations would be here in the us.well Im paying attention to our so called leaders and I vote

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