- Medical Marijuana supports have started a ballot initiative for a statewide vote to allow medical marijuana
- Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is trying to keep the initiative off the ballot, by challenging the language of ballot proposal
Medical Marijuana supporters have already garnered 100,000 signatures on a petition to put medical marijuana to a statewide vote in Florida. They have a long way to go to reach the more than 600,000 signatures needed to put the measure on the ballot, but they have until February to garnish the signatures. Supporters are being aided by attorney John Morgan, who has pledged considerable money to promote the movement.
Attorney General Pamela Bondi
Pam Bondi, the ranking law enforcement official in Florida, is pushing to have the initiative kept off the ballot. Before such a measure can be on the ballot for a vote, it must be reviewed by the Supreme Court of Florida. Bondi is urging the Supreme Court to keep the measure from being on the ballot, that is, to keep it from coming up for a vote by the citizens of Florida. Her complaint is that the summary of the law is misleading, which can be enough for the court to keep it off the ballot. However, her motive is certainly not clarification; rather to kill the initiative. She is an elected official, and she must see political gain from her constituents to convince her to take a stand against a drug initiative… albeit an initiative that only allows medically prescribed marijuana which would provide relief to hundreds of thousands of ill Floridians. Ironically, it is a political gambit that may come back to haunt, as American opinion is shifting in favor of legalizing marijuana.
A new Gallup poll indicates, for the first time, that a majority of Americans support the legalization of marijuana. Surprisingly, the poll does not appear to be limited to medical use, only. Also, legalization is favored strongly in younger people, which means that the movement is likely to become stronger as the next few years go by. http://www.gallup.com/poll/165539/first-time-americans-favor-legalizing-marijuana.aspx
Here’s a pretty thorough look from Time Magazine at the changing mores and laws of marijuana regulation, lead by the states that have legalized recreational use: http://nation.time.com/2013/10/19/new-laws-chart-course-for-marijuana-legalization/
Famous TV attorney John Morgan, known for his ubiquitous commercials for Morgan & Morgan, is a big time supporter of medical marijuana, and he’s putting his money where his mouth is. Not only has he been heard in advertisements touting a ballot measure to legalize medical marijuana in Florida, reports indicate he is throwing substantial financial support behind the effort: to the tune of a quarter million in the last three months.
When I did a radio guest spot on B103.9 a few weeks back, someone asked if their out-of-state marijuana card did any good here: no, marijuana is ALWAYS criminal in Florida. And they suspend your driver’s license if you are convicted of even the smallest amount of possession. The caller asked if that was ever going to change, and until recently I had not seen any movement on it. There has not been any perceivable interest from Tallahassee. However, this kind of financial backing may give the grassroots movement the backing to make a change. Crimcourts will continue to track the issue.
For more info, you can visit the website for the group pushing the ballot amendment, People United for Medical Marijuana.
We covered the story of Karey Woolsey, a Cape Coral man who released an album while sitting in Federal prison for drug charges. I’m a little behind on it, but the album hit Billboard’s Heatseekers charts last week. Woolsey is using the opportunity to speak out about the harsh sentences for marijuana laws, which drove his sentence on the case.
Piotr (Peter) Urbanski was arrested last night for growing about 30 marijuana plants in his home. His girlfriend has been arrested as well. NBC-2 got a statement from Sheriff Mike Scott, who indicates that the defendants claim the marijuana was for medical purposes, which is not legal justification in Florida. Also, that’s a lot of weed for a couple of people’s medical needs. He has been charged with felony possession, felony production and misdemeanor paraphernalia.
No booking photo is available, as he is law enforcement…
Conservative Senator Rand Paul joined the growing, vocal opposition to mandatory imprisonment for certain drug offenses. In a recent interview, he pointed out that our last two presidents could have faced incarceration for their youthful indiscretions, and said that he doesn’t want people going to jail and having their lives ruined for making a mistake. He’s not going as far as his father, Ron Paul, who has advocated legalization of drugs generally. Rand Paul is not putting a position that far out there, but certainly seems to have a common sense attitude about marijuana.