Fla. leaders embrace form of marijuana, not another

Senate president supports legalization of non-high-producing Charlotte's Web

Published On: Feb 27 2014 04:40:11 PM EST
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Florida voters will decide if the state legalizes marijuana for medical purposes this coming November, but the political leadership at the state Capitol is embracing one form of marijuana, but not another.

Senate President Don Gaetz has admitted giving a business colleague marijuana to ease his pain.

"Well, it was 30 years ago," said Gaetz.

But the state's top leaders tried to block a vote on medical marijuana. At the same time, they have taken testimony from suffering families about another strain of marijuana.

"We are just asking for a leniency to treat these children," Paige Figgy, a mother, said in January.

The Senate president, who is second in power only to the governor, supports the legalization of non-high-producing Charlotte's Web, or CBD.

"We need to look for how we can maybe get something good out of something we might be suspicious of," said Gaetz.

Florida's political leadership continues to make it clear they oppose the ballot amendment.

"Those proponents have used children with seizures and dying patients as bait to get folks to vote for far more permissive and, I think, ill-advised amendments," said Gaetz.

Supporters of the amendment to legalize the smoking kind of pot worry that politicians might use the legalization of Charlotte's Web as a wedge against the ballot initiative.

"Yeah, just perhaps that we have medical marijuana in our state, so we need not vote in November, which is really not the case," said Michael Krehl, marijuana supporter.

One poll shows 80 percent of the state's voters in favor of medical marijuana. The initiative needs 60 percent to pass.

So far, no organized opposition to the marijuana amendment has materialized. Many political experts said it is unlikely a negative ad campaign could shave enough support to prevent the amendments passage.