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article imageFlorida legislators introduce bills to legalize medicinal pot

By Greta McClain     Mar 2, 2013 in Politics
Parrish - Legislators in the Florida state House and Senate have introduced bills that would allow residents of the state to use marijuana for certain medical conditions
Last week, Robert and Cathy Jordan met with state Democrats who agreed to support legislation known as the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act. The bills, which were filed earlier this week as part of the act, came just two days after law enforcement officials raided the Jordan's home, confiscating 23 marijuana plants. The couple says there were growing the plants because marijuana is the only thing they have found that will stabilize Cathy's neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Although neither Cathy or Robert were arrested, Robert, a disabled Vietnam veteran, is angry with officials, telling the Herald Tribune:
"They explained to me that they had no choice because it's the law. Well, guess what? I've got no choice in the matter, too. We're going head-to-head now and one of us is going to fall. And if it's me, somebody else is going to step up.
They've come and taken away the medicine that's been keeping my wife alive for 20 years. I'm not going to let my wife die, and anybody who loves somebody would do the same thing."
Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the sheriff's department, insists his deputies did not know the Jordan's were involved with the bill, saying Sonya Leigh Johnson, a housing inspector, had reported the possible presence of marijuana at the couples home. According to Bristow, Johnson was assessing a vacant home next door when she saw an extension cord running from an open window at the home she was inspecting towards the Jordans' home. She looked through the backyard fence and saw the plants, took photos and reported it to the sheriff's department.
Following the raid, Sen. Jeff Clemens introduced SB 1250 on Wednesday. On Thursday, Rep. Katie Edwards introduced the companion bill, HB 1139. Both bills would authorize "a qualifying patient to possess and administer medical cannabis, and possess and use paraphernalia for a specified purpose."
The bills are about compassion according to Clemens, saying:
"When a patient comes into your office and tells you all the meds that they're taking don't work, don't relieve their suffering, but marijuana does, it's hard to look at that person in the eye and not do something about it."
Not everyone is happy about the bill however, with Sharon Kramer, director of the Manatee County Substance Abuse Coalition, telling ABC Action News:
"It is naive to think we won't pay a heavy price, especially impacts on the health and well-being of our next generation."
Florida House of Representatives speaker Steve Crisafulli is not pleased with the measure either, saying he does not feel the measure will be something the legislature will focus on.
Clemens insists the introduction of the bill is the right thing to do for those suffering from debilitating illnesses however. He hopes images of a wheelchair bound woman suffering the affects of a fatal disease having her home raided will change opponents minds. He went on to say:
"This is a woman in a wheelchair simply looking to relieve her constant suffering who has tried medications that just don't work. This is about helping people. It's about compassion."
Robert agrees, saying:
"I will replenish my wife's medicine as soon as possible. It's more of a crime for me not to."
More about Marijuana, Medical Marijuana, Medicinal marijuana, Pot, Cannibis
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