Florida: Medical Marijuana Is 'About Compassion,' Says Author Of Bill
By Steve Elliott
Florida state Senator Jeff Clemens last week introduced a bill that would finally allow patients in the Sunshine State with serious qualifying medical conditions to legally possess and use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
S.B. 1250, the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act, named after Florida Cannabis Action Network president and ALS patient Cathy Jordan, would allow qualifying patients to have up to four ounces of marijuana and to grow up to eight marijuana plants, reports Chris Joseph at Broward Palm Beach New Times.
"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 that person in the eye and not do something about it," Sen. Clemens said.
Clemens already made history three years ago when he introduced the first-ever medical marijuana bill in the Florida Legislature. It was quickly shot down, but the senator said he knew from the outset that this would be an uphill, four- to six-year battle.
"We wanted to establish a framework and then devise a bill around what changes to the law would have to be made, what kind of ailments one had to have to be allowed to have medical marijuana," Clemens said.
"Scientific research consistently validates the medical benefits of marijuana in the treatment of a variety of debilitating medical conditions," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. "Seriously ill people who use marijuana to eliminate their pain and suffering should be allowed to access it safely and legally. They certainly should not be arrested and treated like criminals."
Last Monday, a poll was released showing that 70 percent of Florida's voters approve of medical marijuana. The next day, the bill's namesake, Jordan -- who uses a wheelchair due to her battle with Lou Gehrig's disease -- was raided by cops when a state worker visiting her next-door neighbor spotted marijuana plants.
"This is a woman in a wheelchair simply look,ing to relieve her constant suffering who has tried medications that just don't work," Sen. Clemens said. "This is about helping people. It's about compassion."