Both sides weigh in on medical pot measure

Posted at 10:13 PM, Dec 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-17 22:13:24-05

The Florida Supreme Court approved the 2016 version of United For Care's Medical marijuana petition, which means getting the amendment on next November's ballot is nearly a done deal.

The group needs to get enough signatures by February, but already have 400,000 of the 683,000 validated to land the measure on the ballot.

A similar measure was on the ballot last year, but fell just shy of the 60 percent voter approval needed to pass.

June Cutright has multiple sclerosis and said medical marijuana would help keep her disorder in check.

"You just realize, oh, this helps you sleep through the night. It also gets rid of nauseau, and if you can get rid of nausea enough to where you can get hungry, you can eat," she said.

She faces those struggles on a regular basis, so she said she's keeping her fingers crossed that this November she'll be able to legally use medical marijuana.

"It would be one more available treatment in my arsenal that I can use and I can turn to and I won't be labeled as a criminal for doing so," Cutright said.

Others like Diane Ramseyer of Drug Free Charlotte County fear losing the criminal label will normalize the drug destined for medical purposes into recreational use.

"Not even just for our teens, but our smaller children. When they start to see that, it just becomes normalized. It becomes that it's no big deal and it really is a big deal," Ramseyer said.

With medical legalizations, Ramseyer said the drug could become more available to the wrong hands: a population that already has trouble perceiving potential risks.

"Their perception of risk of harm of using that is going down. It's only like 46 percent of our high schoolers that feel there's any kind of harm in using marijuana," she siad.

She pointed to risks like drug addiction, IQ point loss, and depression.

Cutright said it's the benefits to people like her with terminal disorders voters need to think about.

"They're not going to get better. I can't see anyone wanting to say to them, 'I'm sorry, you're just going to have to live this way, and you're just going to have to die that way," she said.

Ramseyer said she doesn't dispute there are some medical attributes to marijuana, and does support more research on the subject.

You decide the fate of this topic this coming November by voting "yes" or "no" on the ballot measure.