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Florida advocacy group fights to legalize medical marijuana

The rise of legalization of medical marijuana is a hot topic across the country. Many states have introduced legislation under which patients can use the drug to help with cancer, glaucoma, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, PTSD, epilepsy, and HIV/AIDS. Although we often rely on traditional prescription drugs, some believe that marijuana has been shown to ease the symptoms of many health issues.

In Florida, a proposal for a constitutional amendment was narrowly shy of the necessary vote to legalize marijuana for medical purposes. An attorney in the state and his medical marijuana advocacy group recently changed the language of the proposed constitutional amendment, in hopes that it will appear on the ballot again late next year.

They believe Florida lawmakers should legalize medical marijuana, in part because many snowbirds or visitors to the state are coming from states where it is already allowed. The amendment would include the Florida Department of Health overseeing medical marijuana treatment centers, state-licensed growers, processors, and retailers.

In order to appear on the ballot, the group needs to acquire 70,000 registered Florida voters’ signatures by March before it can be sent off by the state’s attorney general to the Florida Supreme Court. Once it is approved as a possible amendment, the group must get the remaining 630,000 signatures needed.

While the push to legalize medical marijuana may eventually succeed, for the time being it and many other drugs remain illegal in our state. If you have been charged with drug possession or manufacturing, intent to distribute or received any other drug charges, you may face serious consequences. It is important to know your rights and seek a lawyer who can help you build a defense and may even help to reduce charges against you.

Source:Herald-Tribune, "New language for a 2016 amendment," Michael Pollick, Jan. 11, 2015

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