Medical marijuana debate picks up

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With just two days left until the Florida Supreme Court hears arguments on both sides of the medical marijuana debate, the intensity is picking up among supporters in Jacksonville who are trying to collect nearly 700,000 signatures to get the issue on the ballot.

The debate could come to an end quickly though if the Supreme Court rules with the Attorney General's office.

This is Latarra Graham's third week asking voters for signatures to get medical marijuana on the ballot.

"A lot of people are giving great feedback. They have family members suffering," Graham said.

She's referring to Floridians like Andrell Finney, who says marijuana has helped his glaucoma.

"When I hit that marijuana, it's a relief from everything, a pain reliever," Finney said. "To each his own really, man."

It's a debate that's growing just as fast as the drug.

"I think it's a bad idea because a lot of people don't have self-control," said George Moore.

It's a movement led in part by Orlando attorney John Morgan, who said even doctors are changing their minds.

"Two years ago, Sanjay Gupta wrote a piece for Time Magazine saying it should never be legal," Moore said. "Two years later, he said I studied it, I looked at it, and it was wrong."

Nearly 700,000 people have to sign a petition before it gets put on the ballot, but the Attorney General's office has been quoted as saying, "The true purpose is outright legalization."

Because this issue is headed to the Supreme Court, Attorney General Pam Bondi refused to comment Tuesday, but her office did point out a brief that she wrote, clearly laying out her position.

Bondi said the wording on the initiative is unclear and would open up the floodgate for rampant use of the medical marijuana program.

The court will hear arguments on both sides Thursday, with more than 80 percent of Floridians already approving, according to a Quinnipiac poll.

"It's already bad enough on the streets. I don't know about bringing it for medical. It will probably cause more problems," said Tiffany Hollimon.

"We've got over-addictive drugs like oxycodone; versus marijuana, it's not so bad," said Larry Davis.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.