By: Jeff Skrzypek
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. – Voters in Florida will soon decide the fate of medical marijuana in a few short months during the November election.
The Florida Supreme Court approved the amendment for the ballot on Monday in a 4-3 decision.
The development instantly sparked the debate surrounding medicinal use of cannabis among users and those who fear it will create abusers.
Jeff Kennedy, who can legally buy and smoke marijuana in California, is one of those people who could soon buy what he deems as “medicine” in his home state.
“My reaction beyond the politics is that it’s long overdue,” said Kennedy.
Recently diagnosed with cancer and suffering from severe neuropathy, Kennedy said legalizing cannabis is critical to his health.
“What it means to me is that I will be able to hopefully in the next several months light up without fear,” said Kennedy.
But Jeff Kadel at the Palm Beach County Substance Awareness Coalition fears medical marijuana is a gateway to widespread drug addiction.
“With our history with the pill mills and the doctors, there’s going to be no shortage of people writing these certificates for whatever medical reason is necessary,” said Kadel.
If access is increased for marijuana, Kadel said recreational usage of the drug will skyrocket throughout the state.
“This 60’s reefer madness attitude has to go away. We all know now that this is not a dangerous drug and it’s actually much safer than other drugs,” said Democrat Jeff Clemons, a Florida State Senator.
Clemons, who introduced the original bill, said marijuana would be prescribed under the same strict guidelines between patient and doctor.
Kennedy, who continues to make long trips to California for his medical marijuana, feels his road trips could soon be coming to an end.
“It’s not ‘if’,” said Kennedy, “But ‘when’ it becomes legal because it is going to happen.”
Clemons said if voters approve the amendment, legislators would work out the fine details and enact the law in March 2015.