TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) — Do you think Florida lawmakers should legalize marijuana for medical purposes? One Florida lawmaker does but even she admits the bill she sponsored to legalize medical marijuana has almost no chance of passing in the current legislative session.
State Rep. Katie Edwards, D-Plantation, said Monday the Republican-led Legislature missed an opportunity to debate an issue gaining wider acceptance from Floridians.
The bill (HB 1139) would allow patients with certain medical conditions to possess and use marijuana strictly for medicinal purposes under a doctor’s supervision.
Edwards said she’s not giving up the fight and will keep promoting the issue.
She said that people stricken with cancer, Lou Gehrig’s Disease, epilepsy and other diseases shouldn’t be treated like criminals for using marijuana to ease their pain or side effects.
Edwards said she’s didn’t support the idea at one time, but then she met patients with debilitating pain.
“If you had asked me about six months ago when we were campaigning, if I would have filed this bill, I would have said, ‘Absolutely not,’ ” said Edwards.”Then I got sick myself and in the hospital (began) talking with cancer patients and people who themselves were very sick.”
Edwards named the legislation after Cathy Jordan, a Manatee County woman who has lived with ALS since 1986 and uses marijuana to alleviate her symptoms. Jordan believes using marijuana has kept her alive.
Jordan has been an activist for legalization of marijuana for medical use. In February, her home was raided by police, who confiscated 23 marijuana plants, though Jordan and her husband weren’t arrested. Eighteen other states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use for certain people, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
“The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.”