Campaign begins for medical marijuana ballot measure listen04/03/09 Mitch E. Perry
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Last month, the New Hampshire House of Representatives passed a law allowing the use of medical marijuana on a doctor's recommendation. If it were to be signed by the state’s Governor, they would become the 14th state to allow medical marijuana.
Now an Orlando woman is going to try to get a similar law passed in Florida.
Kim Russell is the founder of People United for Medical Marijuana . She’s working on circulating petitions for the 2010 electoral ballot asking residents to legalize medical marijuana.
Russell says her motivation comes from trying to ease the pain of her father, who was recently diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. She says use of the drug could help him eliminate his tremors and avoid brain surgery.
Getting the law passed certainly won’t be easy. Russell says her organization needs to get 700,000 valid signatures by next February to place the measure on the November 2010 ballot.
She says the proposal could generate as much as $200 million dollars for the state.
Jodi James is on the board of directors with the Florida Cannabis Action Network, and is also a member of the Florida branch of Americans for Safe Access. She thinks it's sad that unlike New Hampshire and elsewhere, Florida lawmakers have shown no inclination to supports such laws, and it’s left for private citizens to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for what she calls a basic health care issue.
When asked if she’ll support Kim Russell’s effort to gather the 700,000 signatures necessary to get medicinal marijuana on the ballot, Jodi James says she’ll certainly encourage her patients to help out. However, James says she has her eyes on a bigger prize – ending the U.S. Government’s 'war on drugs'.
Although President Obama disappointed some activists when he recently said he doesn't favor legalizing marijuana, Attorney General Eric Holder did excite those in the medical marijuana movement when he said he would no longer direct the Justice Department to make raids on clinics supplying the drugs. Kim Russell from People United for Medical Marijuana was encouraged by the directive.
To get more information on the proposed ballot measure, including printing out the petition to sign, go to pufmm.org