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FLORIDA: People United for Medical Marijuana collecting signatures for 2010 election.

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You think Obama got the young people to vote? Just wait 'til 2010.


Florida residents with debilitating illnesses may have the option of treating their pain and symptoms with marijuana if Florida becomes the next state to allow its use for medicinal purposes.

A petition is circulating now for signatures to potentially place a constitutional amendment on the November 2010 ballot posing the issue of allowing the seriously ill to use marijuana for medical treatment.

The Florida Division of Elections last week approved the petition for the political action committee proposing the amendment, People United for Medical Marijuana, to start collecting voters’ signatures.

“Our first threshold is to get close to 68,000 signatures to give to the (Florida) Supreme Court for their approval,” said Kim Russell, founder and chairwoman of the committee. “By Feb. 1, we must have 700,000 signatures.”

Russell, a stay-at-home mother who lives in Orlando became involved in the cause because of her father’s diagnosis with Parkinson’s disease. Marijuana can stop the further degeneration associated with the illness.

She is confident enough registered Florida voters will sign the petition necessary to get the amendment question on the ballot. The group also hopes to raise $5 million to promote the cause.

The petition language says nobody would be deprived or penalized for the cultivation, purchase, use or possession of marijuana in connection with the treatment of diseases or illnesses when recommended by a physician.

Supporters tried in 1998 to get a medical marijuana question on the ballot but it didn’t make it. At that time, Florida Police Chiefs Association and other groups said campaigns are couched as a compassionate plea for the sick and dying but is really designed to be a foothold for a bigger objective of full blown legalization of marijuana.

The police chief’s association has not addressed the latest petition and will not revisit it now, according to Amy Mercer, a spokeswoman for the association. If it does become a legislative issue, then the group will take it up again.

Meanwhile, the association’s 1998 position against medical marijuana still stands, she said.

Russell says misconceptions about marijuana for medicinal purposes can be blamed on the federal government labeling it decades ago as a Schedule 1 drug with no medicinal value. Instead, it was lumped together with other drugs such as LSD and cocaine.

“It’s been proven time and time again to have lots of medicinal uses,” she said.

According to the political action committee, there are 1.7 million seriously ill people in Florida who could benefit from marijuana to provide relief from pain, stop the spread of breast cancer, treat arthritis, glaucoma and other conditions. In Parkinson’s patients, it stops tremors and prevents further deterioration.

The American Medical Association last December at a House of Delegates meeting in Orlando “referred for study” proposed action to support reclassifying of marijuana and urge law enforcement agencies to stop prosecuting doctors and patients in medical marijuana states.

The Florida Medical Association in 1997 endorsed medical marijuana when the issue was in California and recanted the position shortly afterward, Russell said. A spokesman for the FMA on Friday could not say what the association’s current position is on medical marijuana.

Thirteen states have passed medical marijuana laws; most recently in Michigan last November where a two-thirds majority of voters approved a ballot proposition to allow people with serious or terminal illnesses to use marijuana if certified by a doctor. If the issue gets on the Florida ballot and passed by voters, Russell said she would like to see the law modeled after Oregon which has experienced a low abuse rate.

The Medical Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C., says the American College of Physicians, the American Nurses Association, the American Public Health Association and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Association are among groups that support marijuana for medicinal purposes.

The PAC’s Web site is and the petition can be downloaded, printed and mailed back to the group.
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Udut, Kenneth on Apr. 6 2009 edit · delete
The Naples Daily News has a poll on their page (the source of this article). You can see the results without voting by clicking here:
 on Aug. 13 2009 edit · delete

As an ethnobotanist I would like to inform people that marijuana is not indigenous to the Americans but was brought over by the Europeans who grew it in their gardens for medical purposes.
FLORIDA: People United for Medical Marijuana collecting signatures for 2010 election. You think Obama got the young people to vote? Just wait 'til 2010.