Thursday, October 9, 2014

Amendment 2: Florida Medical Marijuana

The Legalization of Marijuana in Florida

Marijuana, or Cannabis, while generally considered beneficial in the fight against some of the most major medical conditions, is only legal for recreational use in 2 states, Colorado and Washington. It is, however, legal—under specific circumstances—in a surprising 23 states (and DC).  Many states in which marijuana use is illegal are deciding to take steps to partially or completely legalize Cannabis for both medical and recreational use. Florida—being a large, influential, and hot (literally) vacation destination—has been getting a lot of attention lately. On the November 4th, 2014 ballot, voters ranging everywhere from Clearwater to Tallahassee will finally have their chance to legalize medical marijuana.

Facts & Benefits of Marijuana Use

The cannabis plant comes in 3 species: sativa, indica, and ruderalis. Depending on the preparation and harvesting method, cannabis is often used for its seeds and their oils, hemp fiber, and can also serve as both a medical and recreational drug. The main psychoactive constituent of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC. THC is the active ingredient that causes a user to feel “high”.

According to ballotpedia.org, there is no record of any person ever dying from an overdose of marijuana.

Marijuana is known to be helpful in some of these areas:

·         Reduce symptoms suffered by AIDS patients
·         Decrease nausea and increase appetite to counter effects caused by, for example, chemotherapy
·         Reduce pressure in the eye(s) suffered by glaucoma patients
·         Alleviate neuropathic pain and spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients
·         Reverse the harmful effects of tobacco and improve lung health
·         Can help control epileptic seizures and symptoms of seizures caused by Dravet’s Syndrome
·         Can stop cancer from spreading
·         Can decrease anxiety
·         Slows the progression of Alzheimer’s disease
·         Treats hepatitis C and increases treatment effectiveness


It’s hard to conduct human studies and tests to learn more about the medical effects of marijuana because of state laws and regulations; according to Businessinsider, “only 6% of studies on marijuana analyze its medicinal properties.”

The Legalization Controversy

Uniquely raised, genetically modified, or naturally different strands of marijuana are one of the reasons that makes legalization an issue in the United States. There’s a difference between smoking to feel better and smoking to ‘feeeeel’ better. Getting high is when smoking or ingesting marijuana turns into a recreational activity instead of a medical treatment, or so people say. It’s almost like a side effect that people need to learn to accept. Nyquil makes you drowsy but it gets rid of your cold; marijuana may alter your attitude or behavior but it can cure or ease some serious conditions. What will it be?

There has been approximately $6,200,000 spent on supportive campaigns, and an amazing $3,300,000 spent on opposing campaigns, which is insanely high based when you consider polls which state that most citizens are supportive of the legalization. (ballotpedia.org)

Marijuana is argued to be dangerous for the following reasons:

·         Rapid heart beat
·         Disorientation
·         Lack of physical coordination
·         Depression or sleepiness
·         Panic attacks or anxiety
·         Brain abnormalities
·         Lung damage and conditions such as bronchitis (despite what the benefits listed)
·         Psychosis
·         Birth defects and abnormalities (as a result of the father’s sperm, or the mother smoking while pregnancy).

The proposed negative effects of marijuana seem like the exact opposites when compared with the positive effects, but it’s no surprise that the ones claiming these side effects are huge, wealthy campaigns designed specifically to stop drug use in the world. This raises the question; why do they care so much? Where are they getting the money to fund these campaigns?

It’s a common belief that big pharmaceutical companies like AmerisourceBergen are the ones funding the anti-drug campaigns like Drugfreeworld.org because the legalization of marijuana could mean consumers wouldn’t need to rely on big companies to get their monthly medical fix; they’d be able to grow their own. In many states you’re allowed the legal growth of a certain number of plants if you’re eligible for medical marijuana use; in California, for example, you’re allowed a total of 6 mature or 12 immature plants.

Legalization Milestones

Through citizen initiation, voters will be able to vote for the legalization of medical marijuana in the state of Florida on the November 4th ballot. It’s numbered as Amendment 2 and was initially introduced in 2009 by People United for Medical Marijuana, also known as UnitedForCare. If passed, it will legally allow those who have a “debilitating medical condition” the ability to use, possess, produce, and buy or sell marijuana. This amendment will in no way affect the laws that are already in place pertaining to recreational use.

·         In June, 2014, Governor Rick Scott signed 2 senate bills (SB1030 and SB1700) which would make Florida the 22nd state in the nation to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. This only allows the use of very weak strands of marijuana, but it was the first real look at legalization Florida has seen.
·         A poll conducted by Quinnipiac University showed that 88% of Florida voters are in favor of the legalization of medical marijuana.
·         Well-known law firm Morgan and Morgan has heavily pushed to gain attention to voters in the state. The campaign, headed by John Morgan himself, has been a great success.
·         It must win a supermajority vote of 60 percent to pass, and with more than a couple polls resulting in “Yes” counts well over 70%, it’s expected to pass. (ballotpedia.org)

We’ll all know the outcome of this amendment when the day comes, but until then, continue to fight for what you believe in. Marijuana is seen as a miracle to some, and a life destroying addictive drug to others. Many voters see this issue as a vote for personal choice and individual rights. We live in a nation where the majority has the final say, so if you plan on getting the freedom you want and deserve, step up and vote.

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