Medicinal marijuana use gaining support among FL voters

By Bianca Salvant | 2/27/2014, 9 a.m.
The idea on whether marijuana is good or not will be for Florida residents to decide in the upcoming Gubernatorial ...

But the Director of South Miami Drug-Free Coalition, Margaret Sotham, believes that if we are committed to medical value in marijuana, we need to do it the right way.

“When a product isn’t regulated by the FDA there is no way to guarantee its’ purity. We can extract the necessary compounds and put them in a safe product—let’s work together to do that to make available for these families,” Sotham said.

But with sales booming in Colorado and Washington, citizens throughout the country are beginning to show a lot of support for recreational and medical marijuana. State officials are praising the drug for generating much-needed revenue for their struggling economies. According to the Huffington Post, Colorado made over $1 million in medical marijuana sales on the first day of legalization.

“I think we need it here. It’s good for palliative care [physicians, nurses and social workers who specialize in the relief of pain and stress from serious disease] and people who are dying from their illness,” said University of South Florida medical cancer research graduate student, Kamirah Maharaj.

Supporters of the marijuana also said a new law would also decriminalize the plant, reduce arrests and allow police to concentrate on bigger crimes. According to a report by the American Civil Liberties Union, African-Americans are 4.2 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, despite equal usage rates. In Miami-Dade County, the arrests are at a staggering 5.5 times greater.

According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Miami-Dade County had the ninth most arrests for possession of any county in the country.

Monitoring the Future has been studying the behaviors, attitudes and values of American secondary school students, college students and young adults since 1975. A recent study of theirs found that marijuana use among teens rose in 2011 for the fourth straight year. But they also found that alcohol use within the same group reached a historical low. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 32 percent of underage drinking deaths were traffic fatalities; 30 percent were homicide; 14 percent were suicides; 9 percent were alcohol poisonings and 15 percent were other causes. As of yet, there are no reported overdoses or deaths from marijuana.

“I strongly believe that we have alternatives that are standardized; because how much dose do you provide of marijuana? It’s very complex,” Dr. Castro said. “I’m not talking about denying that option to anyone who needs it. That would be mean.”