Rick Scott would sign bill in favor of medical marijuana

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By Ashley Killough

(CNN) — Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida said he would sign a bill that legalizes a limited strain of medical marijuana.

The state House passed the measure on Thursday, and the state Senate is expected to pass it on Friday, the last day of the legislative session. Both houses are controlled by Republicans.

“I’m a parent and grandparent. I want to make sure my children, my grandchildren have the access to the health care they want,” the Republican governor, who’s up for re-election this year, told reporters Thursday. “If it passes I’m going to sign it.”

The type of marijuana, which is low in THC (the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana), is aimed to help those suffering from epilepsy, as well as some cancer patients and those with persistent muscle spasms or seizures and who don’t respond well to other medications, according to the Miami Herald. Qualified children will also have access to the strain.

Scott’s support for the bill came as a surprise for many in Florida, as the governor said in January he would not support a ballot initiative this November that would legalize medical marijuana through a constitutional amendment.

“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,” he said in a statement provided to CNN by a spokesman. “But, having seen the terrible affects (sic) of alcohol and drug abuse first-hand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it.”

Recent polls in the state show strong, bipartisan support for the amendment.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released in November, 82% of Florida voters support legalizing medical marijuana, while 16% oppose it. Breaking it down by party lines, 87% of Democrats support it, as did 70% of Republicans.

The use of marijuana for medical reasons is legal in 21 states and the District of Columbia, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Former Gov. Charlie Crist, who’s challenging Scott this year in the gubernatorial election as a Democrat, has said he supports the ballot initiative.


— CNN’s Steve Brusk contributed to this report.

™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.


  • John

    Rick Scott is the worst governor I know and he may do it because his buddy’s will make money, he had to repay Florida money he overcharged when he was a ceo of a company he founded, bilk Medicare if I recall right. Actually he would fit in well here in va. Crook.

  • Vasu Murti

    A pamphlet entitled 10 Things Every Parent, Teenager and Teacher Should Know About Marijuana produced by the Family Council on Drug Awareness tells us marijuana is not physically addictive. The 1980 Costa Rican study, the 1975 Jamaican study and the 1972 Nixon Blue Ribbon Report all concluded that marijuana use does not lead to physical dependency.

    The FBI reports that 65 to 75 percent of criminal violence is alcohol-related. On the other hand, Federal Bureau of Narcotics director Harry Anslinger testified before Congress in 1948 that marijuana leads to nonviolence and pacifism.

    In a message to Congress on August 2, 1977, President Jimmy Carter insisted: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”

    Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Law Judge Francis L. Young wrote on September 8, 1988: “Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”


    Rose Evans, a widow and a grandmother, a pro-life Episcopalian fond of Buddhism, and editor and publisher of Harmony: Voices for a Just Future, a “consistent-ethic” periodical on the religious left, favors an end to marijuana prohibition.

    Rose Evans wrote in favor of the the legalization of marijuana for therapeutic (medicinal) purposed during the first half of the ’90s. Rose, born in 1928, considered it a crime that many of her elderly friends in her age group, suffering from numerous afflictions, were denied marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    After years of suppression by the government, the truth about medical marijuana is finally out. Dr. Tod Mikuriya, former director of marijuana research for the entire federal government, wrote in 1996: “I was hired by the government to provide scientific evidence that marijuana was harmful. As I studied the subject, I began to realize that marijuana was once widely used as a safe and effective medicine. But the government had a different agenda, and I had to resign.”

    Of all the reasons to legalize marijuana, the most compelling is its medical usage. Marijuana has a wide variety of therapeutic applications, and is frequently helpful in treating the following conditions:

    AIDS. Marijuana reduces the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by both the ailment itself and as a side effect of treatment with AZT and other medicines.

    Asthma. Several studies have shown that THC acts as a bronchodilator and reverses bronchial constriction. Although conventional bronchodilators work faster than marijuana, THC has been shown to last longer and with considerably less risk.

    Arthritis and Other Autoimmune Diseases. In addition to its effectiveness in controlling the pain associated with arthritis, new evidence shows that marijuana is an autoimmune modulator.

    Cancer. Marijuana stimulates the appetite and alleviates nausea and vomiting, common side effects of chemotherapy treatment. People undergoing chemotherapy find that smoking marijuana is an anti-nauseant often more effective than mainstream medications.

    Chronic Pain. Marijuana alleviates the debilitating, chronic pain caused by myriad disorders and injuries.

    Epilepsy. Marijuana is used as an adjunctive medicine to prevent epileptic seizures. Some patients find that they can reduce dosage of other seizure-control medications while using cannabis.

    Glaucoma. Marijuana can reduce intraocular pressure, alleviating pain and slowing (and sometimes stopping) the progress of the condition.

    Multiple Sclerosis. Marijuana limits the muscle pain and spasticity caused by the disease, and relieves tremor and unsteady gait.

    Muscle Spasm and Spasticity. Medical marijuana has been clinically shown to be effective in relieving these.

    Migraine Headaches. Marijuana not only relieves pain, but also inhibits the release of serotonin during attacks.

    Paraplegia and Quadriplegia. Many paraplegics and quadriplegics have discovered that cannabis not only relieves their pain better than opiates, but also suppresses their muscle twitches and tremors.


    Attending Heald Business College in downtown Oakland, CA in 1996, I overheard two young girls, about 19 or 20 years of age, discussing the upcoming elections.

    The first, a white girl, said she was going to vote in favor of the marijuana initiative, saying, “I think I should have marijuana.”

    The second girl, a black girl, said with amusement, “That’s for people with AIDS. They’re not gonna give it to you!”

    “They don’t have to give it to me,” replied the first girl. “I get it anyway.”

    In 1996, California voters passed a law to regulate medical marijuana within the state. In 2000, voters in California approved an initiative allowing people who are arrested for simple possession of drugs to go through a rehabilitation program rather than through the court process that would result in prison. Since the program began, most agree it has been very successful. It results in less recidivism and is considered cheaper than imprisonment.

    Tobacco kills about 430,700 each year. Alcohol and alcohol-related diseases and injuries kill about 110,000 per year. Secondhand tobacco smoke kills about 50,000 every year. Aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs kill 7,600 each year. Cocaine kills about 500 yearly alone, and another 2,500 in combination with another drug. Heroin kills about 400 yearly alone, and another 2,500 in combination with another drug. Adverse reactions to prescription drugs total 32,000 per year, while marijuana kills no one.

    A November 4, 2002 Time/CNN Poll found 80 percent of those polled felt marijuana should be legal only for medicinal purposes. 72 percent felt recreational users should get fines rather than jail time, which is essentially decriminalization. The complete legalization of marijuana was favored only by 34 percent of respondents, but this figure was twice as large as it was in 1986. Marijuana is safer than alcohol and tobacco, and our drug laws should reflect this reality.


    It’s obvious marijuana should be legal for medicinal purposes. But what about for recreational use?

    Nearly 75 percent of the drug war is directed solely at marijuana, which is safer than alcohol and/or tobacco.

    According to a 2003 Zogby poll, two of every five Americans say “the government should treat marijuana the same way it treats alcohol: It should regulate it, control it, tax it, and only make it illegal for children.”

    Close to one hundred million Americans, including over half of those between the ages of 18 and 50, have tried marijuana at least once. Military and police recruiters often have no alternative but to ignore past marijuana use by job seekers.

    In September 2010, Alice A. Huffman, President of the California State NAACP, called on voters “to regulate and decriminalize marijuana.

    “According to the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, half of California’s marijuana possession arrestees were nonwhite in 1990 and 28% were under age twenty.

    “Last year, 62% were nonwhite and 42% were under age twenty. Marijuana possession arrests of youth of color rose from about 3,100 in 1990 to about 16,300 in 2008 — an arrest surge 300% greater than the rate of population growth in that group.

    “If one were to calculate the number of black juvenile and young adult men alone, arrested in 2008 for nonviolent marijuana felony violations – over 5, 600 (and, which includes cultivation of a single plant), the criminal justice cycle entry costs would exceed $1.3 billion annually.

    “It is painfully evident that the war on drugs is a terribly failed policy which has a cost that is too high for taxpayers, and our communities.

    “Let’s keep California on the right side of justice.”

    Downtown Oakland, CA is now known as “Oaksterdam” with its medical marijuana facilities!

    And polls now show a majority of Americans (58 percent) favoring an end to marijuana prohibition.

    “I don’t get angry when my mom smokes pot…”

    –Sublime, “What I Got”

  • Malcolm Kyle

    “The more obvious the failure becomes, the more shamelessly they [the prohibitionists] exhibit their genuine motives. In plain words, what moves them is the psychological aberration called sadism. They lust to inflict inconvenience, discomfort, and, whenever possible, disgrace upon the persons they hate — which is to say, upon everyone who is free from their barbarous theological superstitions, and is having a better time in the world than they are.”

    “They cannot stop the use of alcohol, nor even appreciably diminish it, but they can badger and annoy everyone who seeks to use it decently, and they can fill the jails with men taken for purely artificial offences, and they can get satisfaction thereby for the Puritan yearning to browbeat and injure, to torture and terrorize, to punish and humiliate all who show any sign of being happy. And all this they can do with a safe line of policemen and judges in front of them; always they can do it without personal risk.”

    —an extract from “Notes on Democracy” by Henry Louis Mencken, written in 1926, during alcohol prohibition, 1919-1933

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