Florida could become the next state to allow medical marijuana. Medical marijuana supporters are getting closer to gathering enough signatures to put a medical marijuana referendum on the fall ballot. Organizers announced they have collected 1.1 million total signatures and they're just waiting for many of them to be approved.
Channel 4 spoke to a Jacksonville mother Thursday night about how she believes medical marijuana might benefit her 5-year-old son.
Jami Talbot hopes every signature that comes through the supervisor of elections office will be approved so that her son will be one step closer to becoming healthier. Talbot's son suffers from epilepsy. She hasn't found anything to slow down his seizures, but after a lot of research, she believes medical marijuana could be the answer.
"Mostly I just want it for him, I just want my child to be like every other child and have the opportunities that everyone else has," said Talbot.
Talbot goes through heartache each time her son, Tyler, has a seizure. The 5-year-old was diagnosed with epilepsy in March 2013 and has several seizures a month. Talbot said sometimes they are minor, but sometimes they are so bad he has to go to the hospital.
Tyler is currently on seven medications and has had two surgeries within a year. The last surgery was in December, when a device was put in his body to help with the seizures, but his body rejected the device when he caught methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA).
Talbot says her son is running out of options, and medical marijuana could be something that would help.
"I'm in support of it because it's herbal," said Talbot. "It comes from a plant. The meds he's on is chemically man-made and Lord knows what it's doing to his body."
Channel 4 spoke with a local group, Drug Free Duval, Thursday night to get their input on the issue. A representative from Drug Free Duval told Channel 4 they don't oppose medical marijuana, but they do have concerns.
"It goes on to say, 'or any condition for which a physician feels the benefit may outweigh the risk'; that's a very huge hole," said executive director of Drug Free Duval, Susan Pitman.
Pitman told Channel 4 that its use in situations like Tyler's is something the group supports. Pitman said her group's concern is the way the current amendment is written.
"Based on case studies of other states that have similar wording, we see the vast majority of people that became licensees, that are allowed to have medical marijuana, they're not folks who have debilitating diseases, and we're worried about that," said Pitman.
Channel 4 posted to social media, asking viewers why they thought medical marijuana would be beneficial. Dozens of emails were sent in. People wrote about everything from post-traumatic stress disorder, to seizures, to chronic pain issues.