Thursday, December 12, 2013
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According to an April 1, 2009 article in the Cape Coral Daily Breeze, "Advocates across the state are trying to legalize medical marijuana in Florida" by "circulating a petition for the 2010 electoral ballot" ("Group Pushing for Legalization of Medical Marijuana in Florida"). The petition drive is being organized, primarily online, by People United for Medical Marijuana. Kim Russell, the group's chairperson, "started the initiative after her father was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and denied medical marijuana, even though it[s use] would have prevented him from [undergoing] brain surgery." She told the Breeze that "This isn't an option for him [...]. He had an option of moving to one of the 13 states where [medicinal cannabis] is legal." However, Russell hopes to expand the options available to her father and the many other ill Floridians who she claims are not only clamoring for access to medical marijuana but are also "willing to stand up, put their faces on camera and show what a sick person looks like" to anyone seeking to "bring forward a backlash of negative sentiment" against the proposal. Russell stated that "There is absolute support [for the initiative in Florida], we just have to get everyone organized." In fact, the PUFMM chairperson "said public opinion polls [...] have shown that 72 percent to 80 percent of respondents are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana."
People United for Medical Marijuana additionally refuses to limit its activism to the ballot initiative. The group also hopes that, by "asking people to write their representatives," the state could implement a medical marijuana program through the legislative process. In fact, the group would prefer it that way. As Russell said, "We are hoping they will submit a bill rather than a ballot initiative," though she gave no specific reasons as to why the group prefers the latter option.
If you live or have friends and family in Florida, the petition form is easily accessible in PDF form here. You might also want to write your local representative regarding PUFMM's desired legislative route toward medical marijuana legalization.