Should Florida legalize medical marijuana? - WFLA News Channel 8

Should Florida legalize medical marijuana?

Posted: Updated:
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

The debate about legalizing marijuana packed a hall at the University of Tampa Monday night.

Aaron Houston, the Executive Director of the Students for Sensible Drug Policy, based in Washington D.C. helped back legalization in Colorado and Washington state and spoke about why states like Florida should legalize pot.

"Clearly parts of the law have already taken effect [in Colorado and Washington] and the sky has not fallen," Houston said. "Drug cartels get 70 percent of their profits from marijuana sales alone. That's a staggering figure made possible by the fact that marijuana is the only minimally processed agricultural commodity in the World that's illegal and so really bad people make a whole lot of money from it."

"We believe the drug war has failed and part of that has been the prohibition of marijuana."

But Dr. Kevin Sabet, of Project Smart Approaches to Marijuana, opposes legalization yet feels lawmakers and caretakers should look at a different approach.

"You increase education, you refer to people to treatment instead of jail ... maybe people need an intervention instead of treatment if they're early in their marijuana usage," Sabet said.

He fears people will profit off of legalized pot.

"We are learning the tragic effects of big tobacco every single day when we have half a million people die from tobacco," he said. "That's not an accident. That's because there's an industry behind it, there's an industry that thrives off addiction; we need to make sure that doesn't happen with marijuana."

Florida State Senator Jeff Clemens' recent push to introduce a bill that would legalize medical marijuana was a topic as well.

"I believe - and science has shown - the marijuana plant has medical value ... but [in] non-smoked form," Sabet said. "Take components of that plant and deliver it in a safe way like a pill, a patch ... and oral mouth spray. We don't tell people to rip off willow bark off a tree and chew that. We tell them to take Aspirin."

He argues different growers in every state do something different with it.

"That doesn't seem to follow the hundred-year example of the FDA we have...where you go through proper clinical trials and clearly do it medically," Sabet said.

But Houston says government could combat that with the proper channels that are in place for tobacco and alcohol.

"It's just like regulating beer and wine," he said. "We would control it better."

The dozens of students who watched the debate left with various beliefs.

"Obviously - it concerns people of all different age groups," said 18 year-old Andrew Stefanowicz. "I think if marijuana was legalized to an extent - it would greatly reduce the amount of people incarcerated and it would save our country a lot of money."

Michelle Speaker, 19, disagreed.

"I've personally seen the effects of it and have seen what it's done to people and I don't like to see people get hurt or do stupid things from a drug that should never be here in the first place," she said.

 

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Frightened neighbors voice concerns about Pasco mental health ALF

    Friday, August 22 2014 6:01 PM EDT2014-08-22 22:01:54 GMT
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
    In the middle of a New Port Richey subdivision on Langston Ave. white iron gates lead to a large compound surrounded by barbed wire fences. Inside there is a swimming pool, parking lotand several buildings that formerly served as the neighborhood HOA community center.
  • Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Bradenton apartment complex to be repaired after 8 On Your Side report

    Friday, August 22 2014 4:47 PM EDT2014-08-22 20:47:05 GMT
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
    Last week, 8 on your side showed you some of the dilapidated conditions inside some units at the Townhouse Park Apartments in Bradenton.Tenants were having problems with mold and rodents.There was also water damage.
  • 2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    2.2 million bean bag chairs recalled after deaths

    Friday, August 22 2014 11:01 AM EDT2014-08-22 15:01:24 GMT
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photoAbout 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death. CPSC photo
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
    About 2.2 million bean bag chairs are being recalled after two children opened them, crawled inside and suffocated to death.
  • NewsMore>>

  • WFLA personalities go bowling for a good cause in Tampa

    WFLA personalities go bowling for a good cause in Tampa

    Saturday, August 23 2014 2:30 PM EDT2014-08-23 18:30:39 GMT
    WFLA's Keith Cate sizes up the pins Saturday at Pin Chasers in Tampa. WFLA's Keith Cate sizes up the pins Saturday at Pin Chasers in Tampa.
    A handful of Bay area celebrities went bowling for a very worthy cause Saturday afternoon in Tampa.They took part in an event at Pin Chasers on North Armenia to support the launch of the community campaign ‘Be Hope to My Hungry Neighbor.'
    A handful of Bay area celebrities went bowling for a very worthy cause Saturday afternoon in Tampa.They took part in an event at Pin Chasers on North Armenia to support the launch of the community campaign ‘Be Hope to My Hungry Neighbor.'
  • Massachusetts man injured in Pinellas hit-and-run

    Massachusetts man injured in Pinellas hit-and-run

    Saturday, August 23 2014 1:23 PM EDT2014-08-23 17:23:53 GMT
    If you have any information about this incident please contact FHP. If you have any information about this incident please contact FHP.
    Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol are asking for the public's help in tracking down a hit-and-run driver.The suspect fled the scene of a crash that left a pedestrian in serious condition. The incident occurred just before 2 am Saturday near the intersection of Palm Harbor Blvd. and Alderman Rd.
    Investigators with the Florida Highway Patrol are asking for the public's help in tracking down a hit-and-run driver.The suspect fled the scene of a crash that left a pedestrian in serious condition. The incident occurred just before 2 am Saturday near the intersection of Palm Harbor Blvd. and Alderman Rd.
  • Felon sought in connection with early morning shooting in Winter Haven

    Felon sought in connection with early morning shooting in Winter Haven

    Saturday, August 23 2014 12:24 PM EDT2014-08-23 16:24:48 GMT
    Authorities consider Matthews to be armed and dangerous. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see him. Authorities consider Matthews to be armed and dangerous. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you see him.
    Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff's Office are on the lookout for a Winter Haven man being sought on armed robbery and attempted murder charges.Brandon Leon Matthews, 29, has an extensive criminal background and is considered armed and dangerous.
    Investigators with the Polk County Sheriff's Office are on the lookout for a Winter Haven man being sought on armed robbery and attempted murder charges.Brandon Leon Matthews, 29, has an extensive criminal background and is considered armed and dangerous.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Cast iron cookware questions and answers

    Cast iron cookware questions and answers

    Sunday, July 20 2014 3:00 PM EDT2014-07-20 19:00:17 GMT
    Cast iron cookware has long been appreciated by professional chefs and home cooks alike for its excellent heat retention properties. It's also hard wearing and long lasting, with no fiddly bits to break or get lost...
    Cast iron cookware has long been appreciated by professional chefs and home cooks alike for its excellent heat retention properties. It's also hard wearing and long lasting, with no fiddly bits to break or get lost...
  • Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 11 - 16

    Restaurant Ratings Most Violations: August 11 - 16

    Friday, August 22 2014 12:57 PM EDT2014-08-22 16:57:41 GMT
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We've gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from August 11 to 16, 2014.
    Ever wonder what goes on in the kitchen of your favorite restaurants? We've gathered details about the Tampa Bay restaurants that received the most violations during inspections conducted from August 11 to 16, 2014.
  • FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    FWC: Lionfish need to be removed from Florida waters

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 10:48 AM EDT2014-07-29 14:48:07 GMT
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
    Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is changing management rules of invasive lionfish to remove them from state waters. Lionfish was introduced to state waters in the 1980s, and since then, populations have boomed in recent years, negatively impacting native wildlife and habitat, the FWC says.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.