Lawmakers push for medical marijuana approval

Published On: Feb 10 2014 05:04:59 PM EST

Florida voters will decide the fate of medical marijuana in November, but some lawmakers want to get ahead of the curve, and there's a legislative push to control cannabis.

House Bill 859 would allow the Department of Health and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation to oversee distribution and cultivation of medical marijuana in the state.

Bradenton residents Robert and Cathy Jordan said Cathy wouldn't be here if it wasn't for medical marijuana.

“Oh man, it’s keeping her alive,” Robert said.

Cathy has been battling Lou Gherig's disease and lobbying for the use of medical marijuana in the sunshine state. She's able to use medicinal pot because she qualifies under a Florida medical necessity law.

“Treat this as legitimate medicine, this is saving lives right now,” Robert Jordan said.

Rep. Joe Saunders is sponsoring the Cathy Jordan Medical Canibus Act.

“This is our best shot at a compassionate bill that gets patients medical care and medicine that they need right now, while at the same time keeping the public safe,” Saunders said.

Another bill filed last week allows for the use of a form of medical marijuana to help people with certain seizures, but it's not supposed to be able to get a patient high.

Rep. Matt Gaetz is sponsoring a bill that would allow a low THC strain called Charlotte's Web to be used as medicine.

“The constitutional amendment will put a marijuana dispensary in every neighborhood and every strip mall," Gaetz said. "I think we can really get the medicine to the people who truly need it, with a more limited approach.”

Recent polls show a majority of Floridians support medical marijuana, but not everyone is on board.

“Marijuana, you can have dependency with that," said Claude Shipley, former strategic planner for the Florida Office of Drug Control. "Does it kill people? Not unless you’re high and possibly DUI, drugged and kill somebody or kill yourself. The question comes about whether or not you want to introduce another intoxicant into society that is legal.”

Cathy has now outlived her doctor's diagnosis, predicting her demise by more than 15 years.


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