Speaker Weatherford says marijuana amendment opens door to ‘pot shop on every corner’

Over the objections of Attorney General Pam Bondi, top state Republicans and three fellow justices, the Florida Supreme Court  Monday approved the language for a proposed constitutional amendment to make marijuana legal for some medical purposes in the Sunshine State.

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Photo: Rawstory.com

In a 4-3 ruling , the court turned away a challenge by Bondi that argued the language of the ballot question was misleading in part because while the ballot summary states that it would allow “the medical use of marijuana” for patients with “debilitating diseases as determined by a licensed Florida physician,” the actual language of the amendment is a good deal looser.

While the amendment describes debilitating conditions as cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease and other serious diseases, it also allows for “other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.”

That leeway was too broad for opponents of the measure, such as House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, who issued a statement after the court’s decision saying it opened the door to marijuana being sold openly without the fig leaf of a medical purpose.

He likened the medical marijuana exemption to Colorado, where possession of marijuana for personal use became legal under state law effective Jan. 1, but remains a crime under federal law.

“Make no mistake: this is not about compassionate medical marijuana,” Weatherford said in the statement. “This is about the Coloradofication of Florida, where the end game is a pot shop on every street corner.”

The amendment was financed largely by attorney John Morgan of Morgan and Morgan, the statewide personal injury law firm that has employed former Gov. Charlie Crist since Crist’s defeat by Marco Rubio in the Senate campaign in 2010.

With Crist now seeking the Democratic nomination for governor, the marijuana ballot question is widely seen as being a way to boost turnout by younger, Democrat-leaning voters.

Gov. Rick Scott in a statement, said he was sympathetic to those suffering from the chronic illness, but remains opposed to marijuana legalization even for medical purposes.

“I have a great deal of empathy for people battling difficult diseases and I understand arguments in favor of this initiative,” Scott said in the statement.
“But, having seen the terrible effects of alcohol and drug abuse firsthand, I cannot endorse sending Florida down this path and I would personally vote against it.”

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