The Florida Senate voted 36-3 this week to pass the Florida Medical Marijuana plan. While this is only the first step in the legalization/decriminalization of medical marijuana in Florida, it puts Florida on track to become the 22nd state (plus DC) to legalize the medicinal use of the plant. The Senate proposal – which differs from that of the Florida House – would legalize medical marijuana so long as there is less than 0.8% THC, and at least 10% cannabidiol. Essentially, this proposal eliminates the “high” while increasing the cannabis compound needed for medical treatment.
Seems like Florida is dipping its toes in the bong water, which may mean a path towards broader legislation for the better…er, higher…um, stronger…strains of marijuana.
Typically, this writer is against anything that gives the government more control, and legalization allows for regulation, which leads to control (and money).
In this instance, I’m happy to see Florida taking a step in the right direction. This Senate plan is backed by two major organizations including the Florida Medical Association and the Florida Sheriffs Association. Governor Rick Scott, who is looking for a little more out of the House bill, has implied that he would back medical marijuana measures so long as the drug does not provide any feelings of euphoria (and there go 95% of marijuana tax revenues for the state of Florida!).
True, the health benefits of medical marijuana are numerous: anti-inflammatory, anti-pain, anti-seizure, anti-anxiety, and more. From a pure medical perspective, take away the high and you still have a drug that helps people. Yet, taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture, the majority of us recognize that this is a big win for recreational marijuana proponents. The psychological victory is profound, and it gets the process started of normalizing marijuana use. And why not? Colorado collected $3.5 million in tax revenues from both recreational and medicinal marijuana in January 2014 alone! Annualized, that’s $42 million – $42 million in a state with a population one-fourth the size of Florida’s.
Argue the morality of the situation all you’d like.
If all sins are created equal, then we might as well capitalize on the sin tax revenues which may be a boon to the local and state governments in Florida.
If it’s a matter of principle, there can be no argument. Is legalization an implicit legitimization of marijuana? Maybe. But, the fact of the matter is that legalization/decriminalization means less government resources being used on punishing marijuana users. The cost savings coupled with the tax revenues means an influx of dollars to the Florida economy.
The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by EagleRising.com