Frank Ewere

Staff Writer


As many across the nation are seeking the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, Florida is just one of several states looking to re-examine previous views on marijuana.

Recently, supporters who like ordering online weed has constitutional amendment in Florida said they had collected enough signatures to put their proposal on the November ballot. Florida is only one of several states looking to revise drug laws. If the measure is passed, Florida will become the first southern state to legalize medical marijuana.

A little over a week ago it was reported by several sites and sources including the, New Times Broward Palm Beach”and the United For Care website, that the People United for Medical Marijuana group had officially collected 1.1 million petitions.

The group needed 700,000 valid signatures by 5 p.m. on Feb. 1 in order for the signatures to be counted. The last of the petitions were validated this week after the official ruling by the Florida Supreme Court.

With hope of victory, United for Care is looking to spread the word in hopes of educating the masses in preparation for the voting in November. United for Care campaign director Ben Pollara is trying to spearhead the movement of instructing possible voters.

“We’ll be getting in full campaign mode,” Pollara told New Times. “We’re ready and organized to get people to get out there and vote.”

Medical marijuana is popular mainly for its restorative powers. According to the National Cancer Institute, prescribed marijuana can help an individual who exhibits muscle tension and spasms, insomnia, chronic pain and loss of appetite.

Though medical marijuana has lower tetrahydrocannabinol, the ingredient that makes one ‘high,’ the risks from its usage are not that different from a recreational marijuana that can be laced with other drugs like PCP.

According to a 2012 study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, people who started smoking before age 18 showed a greater decline in IQ and cognitive functioning than people who started smoking as adults.

Despite the fact that 20 states and Washington D.C. have already legalized it, anxiety about legalizing medical marijuana makes some Floridians uneasy.

GOP leaders, like Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, have been working to disrupt the process as the Florida Supreme Court views the legality of the petitions. Gov. Rick Scott said this past week he will vote against a proposed constitutional amendment to allow the medical use of marijuana if it makes the 2014 ballot.

Several Florida Southern students and staff declined to comment due to the controversial nature of the legalization subject. However, sophomore Stephen Bucci expressed his support for the passing of the medical marijuana measure.

“Up north it helps a lot of people. I know a bunch of people and it would be good to pass it,” Bucci said. “I think it should be passed because there have been no causes of death from marijuana [overdose] and also because it has been medically proven to help patients. I actually have chronic disease and it would help me.”

A recent article by Nicole Flatow on the ThinkProgress website demonstrates the support that some Floridians are showing for the legalization of medical marijuana. According to a new poll by the Public Policy Polling (PPP), 65 percent of voters support the ballot measure while only 23 percent are opposed to it.

In May 2013, a nationwide Fox News poll found that adults should “be allowed to use marijuana for medical purposes if a physician prescribes it.”

Even some national politicians are in agreement with the medical marijuana movement. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has moved off his previous stance on marijuana, believing that the medical aspects of marijuana are worth consideration for the legalization of medical marijuana.

Even President Barack Obama believes that marijuana usage is not as treacherous as some would make it out to be as he spoke with the New Yorker editor David Remnick.

Supporters of the legalization of marijuana are citing potential business prospects as a reason to legalize the drug. According to an article by Brian Orelli on the DailyFinance website, a study by ArcView Market Research has found that the national market for legalized marijuana could hit $10.2 billion in five years. A few years after that marijuana would even become the best-selling drug ever, surpassing the record that Pfizer’s Lipitor currently holds at about $13 billion.

Photo courtesy of By Brett Levin Photography, Creative Commons