Fla Lawmaker's Tilting at Windmills with MMJ Bill
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Fla Lawmaker's Tilting at Windmills with MMJ Bill
Posted by CN Staff on March 09, 2011 at 12:11:20 PT
By Nicole Brochu, Sun Sentinel Columnist
Source: Los Angeles Times 
Florida -- The medical marijuana debate is coming to Florida.At least, that's the hope of one state legislator. Florida Rep. Jeff Clemens, D-Lake Worth, is introducing a bill that would put legalizing marijuana for medical purposes up for a statewide vote. Clemens told a local radio station that he considers himself a full "de-criminalization advocate" who would one day like to see marijuana legalized for all Floridians, but that is not his intention with this first effort. The bill, which does not yet have a number, would merely address medical marijuana.
"If people vote that they want to see medical marijuana in Florida, what would happen is the Legislature would write the laws that would govern it," Clemens told Buzz 103.1 in an on-air interview broadcast in South Florida on Monday. "That creates an industry, and it creates regulation for that industry, and frankly, some tax dollars for the state."I wish the representative luck, but I'm not holding out much hope he'll get traction. Florida isn't California.Readers of this column know how I stand on the question of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. In a Jan. 14 column, and again in the attached video, I call such a prospect "crazy dangerous" and "irresponsible public policy." And I feel strongly about both statements  despite the scorn and occasional death threats I've gotten from some disturbed potheads who take extreme offense at anyone who dares share such an opinion.But I do support medical marijuana in tightly controlled, heavily regulated environments. Unlike those who smoke weed just to get high, potentially on their way to harder drugs, medical patients actually have good reason to light up: Documented scientific studies have proven marijuana's benefits in relieving pain and nausea for cancer, multiple sclerosis and other diseases.That's not an inconsistent position. I don't ever want to see a day when prescription-only narcotics are allowed to be sold over the counter, or in the local gas station, but they have obvious benefits for patients in need, with a prescription and under the care and supervision of a doctor. I am persuaded by the argument that the same should be true for medical marijuana  if regulation and controls are effective.That's a big if, especially in Florida. Already, the Sunshine State is finding it next to impossible to keep oxycodone out of the hands of addicts. That drug is legal only when prescribed by a doctor, and yet addicts are overdosing at rates that surpass any other state in America.Clemens would like to see Florida follow in the footsteps of California, which pioneered the first medical marijuana law in the late 1990s, and 12 other states.But even this former mayor of quirky and eclectic Lake Worth, experiencing his first days of his rookie session in the state Legislature, isn't kidding himself. Florida is a state led by large majorities of socially conservative Republicans, and Clemens told his Buzz 103.1 radio hosts that he's not even sure the bill will get a hearing this session.Medical marijuana, though, is important enough of an issue to him, with some potentially meaningful taxing benefits, that the new legislator wanted to take the opportunity "to start a conversation." I'm all for that, and I applaud his tilting at this particular windmill.Knowing he will get some flack for even broaching the prospect of legalizing medical marijuana, Clemens said he was hoping any debate on the subject would be expressed as "more of a show of compassion than a show of anger."Good luck with that, too. I don't know when the marijuana debate started taking on the vicious overtones usually reserved for arguments over abortion and animal rights, but for some reason, the mere mention of the subject sends many on both sides of the legalization argument into toxic, foul-mouthed tirades.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author: Nicole Brochu, Sun Sentinel ColumnistPublished: March 9, 2011Copyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 
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Comment #8 posted by rchandar on March 18, 2011 at 20:45:22 PT:
Storm Crow
I can guarantee that, in Florida, any kind of MMJ law would make the government a f #kload of money. I'm going to guess that such a law would mean at least 150,000 clients.The law is inappropriate for a number of reasons. First, it's just too severe--punishing a kid for a joint with a year in the slammer has done nothing other than make teens more defiant. The "system" is skewered, and a lot of lives are forced through the courts and the "boot camps", for what purpose I'm not sure. In our state, possession of more than 20 grams means you're a dealer. The penalty goes up to 5 years. Then, let's take into account some things. For Black and Latino populations, MJ is traditional, in many cases sacramental. In watching Florida politics for so many years, I've basically given up--they don't listen to us. We're like dead people--we don't count. But if you go into most of the neighborhoods in Miami, it's assumed--whether you're there for that purpose or not--that you're looking for drugs.Those guys at PUFFM aren't all that loved. I'd say that Florida has a conservative image problem--and if it doesn't get with the times, a lot of people will leave for other places.(That doesn't bother the politicians much.)--rchandar
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Comment #7 posted by Storm Crow on March 12, 2011 at 11:30:26 PT
Just as a FYI for you folks, I get more "meet up notices" and info from PUFMM than any other cannabis organization! There were 2 more "meet up notices" just this morning! As far as I can tell, those guys are all really working their tails off! If activity is any indication of success, Florida will soon have MMJ! I would think that medical use would be an "easy sell" to the senior citizens- once they learn the medical facts (my "Granny's list" can help there!). Money is getting tighter and tighter, and cutting the monthly prescription bill would help a lot of people on fixed budgets! Go for it, Florida! 
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Comment #6 posted by rchandar on March 10, 2011 at 11:52:17 PT:
I guess you guys are probably thinking that we Floridans lack the nuts to change our social policy. It isn't true, there are a lot of people fighting for change. Nicole's comments are misguiding: they assume that Floridians all agree that the current law must remain in place. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's an astronomical type of difference between Miami and the rest of Florida, but the current law is completely inappropriate and we know that. In the season of foreclosures and high unemployment, something other than jailing and probating offenders must take place.If states such as Texas could back off this kind of repression, why couldn't we? We're a major tourist draw, with hundreds of millions of guests every year. In my opinion, the people should vote for a referendum that would make Florida decrim. That would be a godsend--you would, say, take about 700,000 smokers out of the criminal justice system, giving the cops much more room to focus on violent crime. Too many Floridians liked the Crime Bill of 1994 and thought it would solve their ills.Now it is time for decrim. Florida should set the standard for social policy in the "New South."--rchandar
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on March 10, 2011 at 06:28:09 PT
Rep. Jeff Clemens
I agree with you Hope.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on March 09, 2011 at 20:26:54 PT
Florida Rep. Jeff Clemens
I admire him as a man of character and boldness doing his best to do the right thing... even if it's not the popular thing among the rich and powerful in the state of Florida.Thank you, Representative Clemens.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 09, 2011 at 16:19:52 PT:
"...comes the revolution..."
America is due for a reckoning.The economy is still moribund...and there is increasing unrest. What's happening in the Midwest is soon to be replicated all around the country, as the realization dawns on those who trusted the system that the system was inherently any drug law reformer could (and many did) tell them.For the longest time the Powers-That-Be have maintained control by using the political process to deflect or bleed off the pressure caused by the People not getting what they thought they were voting for. Pols were co-opted either from the get-go or immediately after elections; elections were rigged, crises manufactured, bureaucratic foot-dragging, etc., any and every means of social control was applied in order to diffuse and deflect the will of the electorate in favor of continuing a status quo that benefited the top 1% of the country at the expense of all others save that top 1%'s handmaidens and toadies.Until that top 1%'s greed finally caused the house of cards they created to collapse, with devastating results for everyone but them...or so they no doubt thought.But now the sleeping dragon of the electorate has been aroused. It's angry. It's on the move. And it will not be sedated again.What does this mean for drug law reform? Plenty. It means that with dwindling tax revenues being reflected in government cut-backs, more and more scrutiny will be applied to the budgetary triage that has long been needed but never applied. Any wasteful programs that were once tolerated or even trumpeted as being of national importance - such as the DrugWar - will finally receive the 'butcher's measure'. And if the pols don't do it, the People will politically apply that measurement to the pols come election time.All we have to do is keep pounding the "DrugWar = waste of scarce taxpayer's dollars" "DrugWar = no money for the unemployed" "DrugWar = homelessness" "DrugWar = hungry kids" into the media's ears every chance we get. Just as the MSM realized once again, after our continued use of the word 'prohibition', that the DrugWar is alcohol Prohibition's much bigger and badder sibling and began to use the word 'prohibition' to describe it, our point of the DrugWar being fiscally indefensible in these tight times will also find plenty of traction if said often enough. Essentially, we must, to reverse the usual process, tell the "Big Truth" in opposition to our opponent's Big Lie, as often as we can, so, like our use of the word 'prohibition', it sinks into the consciousness.Then it won't matter what tight-arsed control freaks like this author thinks anymore. We have always had the numbers; it's time to prove it.
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Comment #2 posted by Vincent on March 09, 2011 at 14:37:00 PT:
key words
This article is so full of back-handed compliments that it's easy to see the ignorance coming out of his mouth. For example, when he uses key words like these: "Unlike those who smoke weed just to get high, potentially on their way to harder drugs, medical patients actually have good reason to light up" So, he's on the side of Medical Marijuana patients but he's still calling recreational smokers addicts.
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Comment #1 posted by dongenero on March 09, 2011 at 13:07:20 PT
toxic, foul-mouthed tirades.
The author should try penning a pro-cannabis legalization argument sometime so she can experience "the scorn and occasional death threats.....from some disturbed", Prohibitionists, "who take extreme offense at anyone who dares share such an opinion."Keep in mind the "extreme offense" you experience from those you refer to scornfully as "potheads", is scorn from people whom you would arrest, incarcerate, and steal assets from, for a victimless crime that has nothing to do with you. Considering that, I believe they have a point to their being offended.The extreme offense voiced from Prohibitionists on the other hand, is scorn and contempt for the actions of others that have no bearing whatsoever on how the offended Prohibitionist lives their life.I think a way to consider such an argument from either side may be to consider individual responsibility and freedom and then ask yourself, does this argument really have anything to do with me, or do I simply wish to control others freedom and responsibilty? 
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